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Wayward Jeep rams gift store in historic Coupeville building

Aqua owner Cindy Olson got an unwanted Christmas present just before the holiday— the headlight of a Jeep Cherokee that crashed into her historic Front Street storefront in Coupeville.

At approximately 11:20 p.m. Dec. 23, a Jeep Cherokee driven by a 52-year-old Coupeville resident proceeded north down North Main Street and crashed into the Puget Race Drugstore Building. That historic building faces North Main Street.

Town Marshal Dave Penrod said that the woman driving apparently thought she was still on the highway when she crashed into the business. When deputies arrived, the woman was trying to leave. She was arrested on suspicion of DUI and the case was forwarded to the Island County Prosecuting Attorney's office.

The Jeep crashed into the storefront but didn't break through the walls. However, the Jeep did shatter glass, pushed the front wall inward and damaged some of the gift shop's merchandise, such as a shattered Bergdorf display.

Owner Cindy Olson said most of the work that needed to be done was cleaning up the shattered glass so the store could be ready to open Christmas Eve morning, which is a fairly busy shopping day.

"We worked through the night," Olson said, complimenting law enforcement officers who stayed on scene while she and her husband placed wood over the open windows. She said that one of the Jeep's headlights was left behind after the crash.

Olson said she now has to hire an engineer to assess the building's structural damage. Olson said it looks like she will have to close for a couple weeks in late January while the building is repaired. Fortunately, the closure will come at a slow time of the year, so the affect on business will be minimal.

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