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Car crashes into bike shop again

COEUR d'ALENE — Carrie Martin, owner of Bicycle Sales and Service, was swiftly reminded Friday why she's changing the location of her business.

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For the third time in her seven years at the 1901 Fourth St. shop, on the northwest corner of Locust, a vehicle crashed through the building which runs along the busy, midtown street. The 2003 Mercedes-Benz M-Class went through the store's glass window, causing thousands of dollars in damages and no injuries.

Five minutes before the accident, Bicycle Sales and Service employee Joseph Cromer was about to sell a bike rack to a customer in the area of the store where the Mercedes crashed.

“I heard a loud noise and a co-worker pulled me back, and the car went right though,” Cromer said.

The Mercedes, driven by Chanel Grutta, 17, landed in the shop following a collision with a 1997 Toyota passenger vehicle. Grutta said she was traveling north on Fourth in the left lane of the one-way street when the Toyota, heading west on Locust, emerged from the stop sign. Grutta said while trying to avoid a collision, she was unable to avoid going through the bike store's sizable glass window which hugs Fourth Street.

"I was trying to hit the brakes the whole time, but that was as good as I could get," said Grutta, a Coeur d'Alene resident. "There was nowhere for me to go."

Bowman, also of Coeur d'Alene, said his view of the northbound traffic was obstructed by a car parked too close to the traffic as he crossed Fourth.

"I just pulled out and got slammed," said Bowman, who was ticketed for inattentive driving.

The speed limit on that section of Fourth is 35 mph.

The airbag deployed, but Grutta and her passenger walked away unscathed and were in good spirits.

"At first, it didn't seem real. I was like, 'Is this a vortex?," Grutta joked. "I was surprised that the airbag was gray, I thought it was going to be white. A little disappointed about that."

Martin, who owns the store but not the building, estimates about $15,000 in bike damage alone. Before Friday, the most recent vehicle to hit her store was two years ago.

"Luckily there were no injuries," said Martin, who noted the collisions into the store are a big reason she decided to move the business to Fourth and Birch.

"We are actually supposed to be (in the new location) now, but we're waiting on permits and architects."

Martin said this was the fourth crash into the store she has heard of, counting the three during her ownership.

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