Recently completed remodeling will have to be redone, and an employee nearly had the “life scared out of her,” but luckily, no one was injured when a woman accidentally drove through the front wall of a Highland optometrist’s office Thursday afternoon.
The accident occurred around 12:16 p.m. at the office of Dr. John Kleinhoffer, who operates Family Eyecare in the Woodcrest Plaza shopping center, located at 1312 Mercantile Drive in Highland.
It’s believed the driver, who police did not identify, may have mistakenly pushed the gas pedal instead of the brake and drove through the front of building, according to the Highland Police Department, though the final report has yet to be completed.
Shelley Jessup, an employee at the office, was entering data into her computer when the car came crashing through the wall not far from her desk.
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“I heard brakes screeching, and I could tell it was a car, and I could tell it was coming close,” Jessup said. “Then I heard the loud bang and a lot of glass breaking.”
Jessup jumped up and ran to the back of the building, “as far away from it as I could,” she said, meeting her coworkers in the hallway along the way.
Mary Luber, the practice’s manager, said they had heard the noise from the back of the office and hurried to see if Jessup was safe.
“We all took off running toward the front part of the building, because we knew we had an employee entering insurances real close to where the noise came from,” Luber said.
After their safe reunion, the group cautiously paced around the corner to see what had happened.
“We saw that there was a car through our window,” Jessup said. “But no one was hurt, so I called 911, and the police were here pretty quickly.”
Jessup said the accident came as a blow, because the office had just acquired that section of the building.
“We just remodeled,” Jessup said. “In fact, the section she busted through wasn’t even ours a month ago.”
Jessup said it was lucky no one was hurt, since Thursdays are usually busy with patients. However, Dr. Kleinenhoffer happened to be out of town, so no patrons were in the building at the time.
“Otherwise, we would be walking up and down that hallway,” Jessup said.
After the accident, Jessup moved her work station all the way on the other side of the building.
“I was one window over, so just one hallway over. I was really pretty close — too close. (It) close enough to scare the life out of me,” she said.