SUV crashes into downtown business, lands inside

Mar. 04, 2013 @ 05:38 PM

A sport-utility vehicle plowed into the front of a downtown beauty supply business early Monday, ripping out the store’s front and landing inside.

The driver, charged with driving while impaired, was injured seriously, according to police.

The accident happened about 12:50 a.m. at Hairizon Beauty at 341 W. Main St. near Five Points.

Police said the 2000 Chevrolet Blazer was going the wrong way on Morris Street when it crossed West Main Street and crashed into the business.

The driver, whose identity was not released Monday, was taken to the hospital, police spokeswoman Kammie Michael said.

Michael said he was also charged with driving while his license was revoked and going the wrong way on a one-way street.

The Blazer was involved in a hit-and-run accident at Liberty Street and Miami Boulevard about 10 minutes before the downtown crash.

Val Jackson, who owns the business, said she got a call at 1:59 a.m. from Durham Fire Department officials telling her a vehicle had landed in her store.

“I said: ‘What?’ ” Jackson said. “They said: ‘Yes, ma’am, there’s a vehicle inside your store.’ ”

Jackson said authorities told her that because of a gas leak, the Five Points area was being cordoned off until the leak was fixed. Once the leak was repaired, she was allowed inside. She said the SUV was still there, but the driver had been taken to the hospital.

“My first reaction was: ‘Thank God nobody was in the store [when the SUV crashed through]. We know that items like shampoos and conditioners can be replaced, but the idea that somebody could have been really, seriously hurt inside the store – we’re very grateful that’s not the case.”

Jackson said she hopes the driver recovers.

What had been a normal storefront was a gaping hole Monday afternoon as workers removed bricks and debris. Shattered glass littered the floor.

Jackson said that as far as she could tell, nothing was stolen.

“We had to get the supplies out of the building, because the construction people have to shore up the wall and start repairs,” she said.

Jackson said she recently got a grant from the city for renovations inside the store, but work had not begun.

In addition to the brick and mortar store, the business has an online site at www.hairizonbeauty.com that she hopes will generate revenue as the store is closed for repairs.

Jackson said business has had “good days and great days” during the two years it has been open, “and things were definitely on the upswing.”

Before the accident, the front of the business had a big window pane with a stage area that displayed products. An arrow pointed customers to a side entrance that made it “a little bit of a challenge to get in the store.”

But now, she said, “you can walk clear in.”