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Narrow escape in Qualicum Beach toy store crash

Lucky break: Qualicum Toy Shop manager Les Oulton holds daughter Paige where he would have been standing when a vehicle slammed into the wall Thursday.  - Neil Horner photo
Lucky break: Qualicum Toy Shop manager Les Oulton holds daughter Paige where he would have been standing when a vehicle slammed into the wall Thursday.
— image credit: Neil Horner photo

Les Oulton never thought he would consider himself lucky if a vehicle smashed through the wall of his place of business.

That’s exactly how the manager of the Qualicum Beach Toy Shop looks at what happened last Thursday though, when a confused, elderly driver slammed her vehicle into the side of the Qualicum Toy Shop on Second Ave.

“It was perfect timing for a car to come though the store,” he said, “when nobody’s here.”

The crash happened at about 1:30 p.m. Thursday when the driver of a vehicle lost control while parking outside the store and slammed into the front of the building.

“We had a vehicle that decided to come and park in our drive-through toy store,” he joked. “I was just coming out of the washroom on the other side of the store.”

That was the first piece of good luck, he said, as the vehicle hit the store’s counter and slammed it three feet across the room. Had he been at his post, he could very likely have been injured — or worse.

“I had a busy morning throughout the day and hadn’t had a chance to use the facilities,” he said. “I had an opportunity with nobody in the store and so I put a note on the door saying I would be back in five minutes. As I came out I heard the noise and took two steps forward and couldn’t believe what I saw. The whole wall had come down and there were window panes all over the place and all sorts of debris and there was a CRV sitting two and a half or three feet into my store.”

That empty shop was the second piece of good news. Mere minutes before, he said, a customer had been kneeling down against the wall at ground zero, showing his wife one of the jigsaw puzzles stored there.

In that same spot, Oulton noted, he usually keeps eight-month-old daughter Paige when she goes down for her nap. As it happened,  Paige was at home with her mom that day — the third piece of good luck.

The Qualicum Beach Volunteer Fire Department was on scene in short order and the woman, dazed but otherwise unhurt, was helped out of her vehicle, which was then towed out of the store.

Now, with the wall patched up and the store back in order, Oulton is philosophical about the ordeal.

“It’s an issue that happens,” he said. “Sometimes people jump the curb. We definitely lost inventory, but all that can be replaced.”

The woman does not face any criminal charges in relation to the incident.

 

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