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Another Oak Harbor business damaged by car

A downtown bar in Oak Harbor is the latest casualty in a string of recent car-versus-building collisions on Whidbey Island.

Off the Hook, located on Pioneer Way at the corner of Southeast Hathaway Street, was struck Monday by a 2012 Mazda 3 sedan shortly after 11 a.m.

No one was inside the building and the sole occupant and driver, Mary Fuller, 71, was not injured.

“She’s not so sure what happened,” said Officer Mel Lolmaugh, with the Oak Harbor Police Department.

Fuller told officers she was on her way to get her nails done at Queen Nails and was pulling into a parking space when the accident occurred, Lolmaugh said.

“Next thing you know, she hit the building,” the officer said.

Although the car did not strike with enough force to break all the way through the bar’s cinderblock wall and end up inside the building, the impact was heard by several neighboring businesses.

“It went ‘kaboom,’” said Les Bense, of Oak Tree Antiques.

“It was quite noisy,” echoed Janet Shepherd, a customer at the nail salon at the time of the crash.

Oak Harbor firefighters and police were on the scene within minutes and the area was quickly abuzz with merchants and downtown customers.

Mayor Scott Dudley arrived at the scene for a glimpse of what happened.

Once the vehicle was pulled from the side of the building, the extent of the damage was clear. Part of the window frame was pushed inward.

Also, several feet of the cinderblocks below, which comprise part of the outside wall, were smashed and lying inside the bar.

Lolmaugh estimates the damage to the vehicle at approximately $5,000 and about the same amount for the building — a total of $10,000.

Tavern owner Claude Johnston arrived a short time later to survey the damage.

As he began to clean up inside, he said facade work to the building, built in 1923, was only just completed about a week earlier.

The barkeep was pretty good-natured about the event, however, shrugging it off as an unfortunate mishap.

“We were going to remodel all this anyway (the inside) so I guess it’s time,” Johnston said.

“She’s OK and that’s all I really care about,” he said.

“It will be fine.”

This is the third substantial vehicle-building collision in Oak Harbor within the past five weeks.

In early March, a passenger car drove all the way through the front doors of Little Caesars pizza and came to rest in the back kitchen.

A few weeks later, another car crashed through the side of the bookstore at Skagit Valley College.

Coupeville had a similar string of crashes in 2012. Last April, a car smashed into the building that houses Whidbey Orthopedic Surgeons and an SUV struck Linds Pharmacy in July.

Drugs and alcohol were not factors in any of the collisions, according to polic.

Monday’s accident is still under investigation and Oak Harbor Police Chief Ed Green said Fuller may be issued a citation for a traffic infraction.

 

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