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Sunday, Apr. 20, 2014

Woman drives through Benton antique store

Friday, May 26, 2006

(Photo)
Phyllis Schwartz, owner of the Antiques Centre, looks over the damage after a car crashed through the building.
BENTON - Phyllis Schwartz, owner and manager of the Antique Centre in Benton, was shocked around 2:20 p.m. Thursday when she felt her building shake and saw a cloud of dust rise from the back of the store. Schwartz and the other customers at the store were even more surprised when they realized the damage was caused by a Dodge Stratus that had driven through the wall and 42 feet into the store.

According to Missouri State Highway Patrol, 88-year-old Rosie C. Young of Senatobia, Miss., was traveling on Interstate 55, four-tenths of a mile north of Benton, with her brother behind her when she pulled her vehicle off the roadway into the median to make a U-turn. The accident occurred when motorist Travis W. Crihfield, 23, of Poplar Bluff swerved to avoid a Young's brother who had applied his brakes in order to make the turn and struck Young's vehicle making the left turn, which appeared in his vision only before the crash was inevitable. Young's car traveled across the highway through an empty orchard field and struck the antique store located near Diebold's Orchard. After being broad-sided, she was apparently knocked unconscious and unknowingly continued to accelerate until she hit the building, a witness said.

"We initially thought the ceiling fell in, and then we saw the car and a woman inside. We couldn't believe it," said Schwartz.

Schwartz saw the woman was unconscious and attempted to revive her but was careful not to move her.

Young sustained minor injuries and was taken by ambulance to St. Francis Medical Center in Cape Girardeau.

At first glance from the outside, the building appears to be in relatively decent shape, with what seems to be simply a relatively small dent on the north side. But inside is a different a story.

Dust, antique parts and insulation cover the floor; and also the new addition of a beat up Dodge Stratus.

Three or four dealers who had booths set up where the car came through lost almost all of there antiques.

"I lost three or four 1800s chairs, an antique game table, a china cabinet filled with glassware, and an 1800s sofa bed," said Rodney Huckstep, whose booth was all but destroyed by the crash. "All and all I would say I lost about $3,000 worth of valuable antiques."

Huckstep was not in total dismay.

"At least I sold all my stuff. I am pretty sure the policy of you break it you buy it applies here," Huckstep said with a dry humor.

Insurance agents will evaluate the damage to the mall and the dealers within the next few days.

Surviving the scene at the end of day, all Schwartz could say was: "It's unbelievable."