Just after noon on Sunday, 40-year-old Patrick Hanna and his wife were in the checkout line at Rite Aid in Westbrook, when a car crashed through the front of the building, stopping about 2 feet from where they were standing.

“I looked back, and the whole wall and debris was coming our way,” he said.

According to police, a 2006 Lexus driven by Philo Street, 84, of Gorham, crashed into the Rite Aid Pharmacy on Main Street, injuring Rite Aid employee Sharla Cummings and causing structural damage to the building.

Hanna was next in line to pay at the register when the accident occurred. He said he noticed Cummings standing in the front of the store, where there were displays and a large, metal shelving unit against the windows. A moment later, he said, he heard a loud noise and Cummings was thrown several feet by the car.

“She went out of sight, and I didn’t see her again until everything came to a stop,” he said. “The whole thing was surreal.”

Capt. Michael Nugent of the Westbrook Police Department said Westbrook Rescue took the injured Cummings to the hospital. Neither Street or his passenger, his wife, Diana Street, were injured.

Hanna said his first reaction was to check on his wife, who was already out of harm’s way, but that his attention quickly turned to Cummings, who was bleeding. Hanna grabbed a few scarves and attempted to stop her bleeding.

He said he was disappointed to see bystanders taking photos of the crash site instead of helping. Hanna’s wife called 911, while a Rite Aid pharmacist helped assist Cummings.

“It was just a reaction,” he said about helping Cummings.

Cummings, 66, was listed in critical condition Sunday night, but when Hanna paid a visit Tuesday, she was listed in fair condition. He said he visited because he saw news reports stating that she was in critical condition. Hanna said she has a fracture in her shin, a concussion and a few cuts.

A Maine Medical Center spokeswoman said Wednesday that Cummings remained at the hospital in fair condition.

The Westbrook code enforcement officer was called to the scene to assess the structural integrity of the building, and the accident remains under investigation, Nugent said. On Wednesday, Rite Aid Store Manager Caleb Hanscom said a temporary wall was put up at the store on 465 Main St. The store reopened Monday morning following the accident.

Officers said Street told them he was attempting to park the car when he accidentally stepped on the gas pedal instead of the brake. Hanna said at first, he couldn’t see the couple in the car due to the amount of debris on top. Eventually, he said, he could tell they were “shaken up” by the accident.

A car that crashed through the storefront of Rite Aid in Westbrook is loaded onto a wrecker Sunday, while emergency personnel assess the damage.Staff photo by Robert Lowell


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