Car crashes into store
by Lenny Roberts
An elderly Oak View woman crashed her 1987 Mercury Cougar
into Video Adventures on North Ventura Avenue Thursday, narrowly
missing two employees and two customers in the store.
Nan Duval, 43, a recently hired employee who was working in the
store at 4:15 p.m., said, "I was just getting ready to check
out. I glanced over and all of a sudden she was in the store."
The impact, Nan added, knocked her out of her shoes, and she
got minor lacerations from the glass that had now covered the
"If I would have been a foot closer to the window, she would
have hit me," she said, adding that she had called the driver
earlier in the day - per her request - to tell her about the
week's new movie releases.
Duval said she was knocked over by the impact, and suffered a
bruised hip where the counter hit her and major bruising on her
rib cage where she hit the floor. Although she refused medical
treatment at the time, Duval said she has been to the Ojai Valley
Community Hospital's emergency room both Friday and Saturday.
"It began hurting when I woke up Friday," Duval said.
"They said I've probably strained the muscles and ligaments.
It happened so fast; it was sureeal."
California Highway Patrol Officer Steve Reid said the driver,
74-year-old Betty Brooks, was traveling southbound on the highway
at a slow rate of speed before making a right turn into the parking
lot in the heart of Oak View's business district.
"For no reason, she apparently lost control, her vehicle
accelerated and struck a bicycle parked outside before coming
to rest inside the building," Reid said.
Tiffany Ann Schmelling, a 22-year-old Ojai resident working behind
the counter with Duval, reportedly banged her elbow on the counter
trying to get out of the way of the invading Cougar, but also
refused medical treatment.
Ray Flowers, a customer in store, was the owner of the $800 Cannondale
bike that had been parked outside.
"She just came crashing through the door and just missed
the girls at the counter," Flowers said. "It was kind
of like a bomb going off. Things just went flying everywhere.
I just turned and ran. I didn't know if it was going to stop
or not. We're just lucky that no one got hurt and the store wasn't
Flowers said that his neighbor, Anita Brooks (no relation to
the driver), was next door at Java 33 at the time of the
came over and sat with the woman, who appeared to be shaken but
not injured, and helped calm her down.
Flowers, who had come to the neighborhood store to rent the movie
"Hardball," cut his losses and left without the video.
"It was a mess. There were movies everywhere. This is the
type of thing you see in the movies, but when it happens to you,
it doesn't seem real," he said. "The car took out my
bicycle. It blew into five pieces. I couldn't believe it. I didn't
know aluminum could blow up like that."
The store remains closed until further notice.
© 2002 The Ojai Valley News
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view from the inside of Video Adventures in Oak View after a
Mercury Cougar crashed through the store's front door.