On Saturday morning, all that was left to remind locals of the violent accident that shattered the window of the Trader Joe’s supermarket and sent 11 people to local hospitals after an elderly woman crashed into the Long Beach Road store was the black plywood that covered most of the front of the store.
Inside, the store was humming, with little evidence of the prior day, when an unidentified woman, who fire officials said was 80 years old, drove through the window, scattering merchandise and shoppers like bowling pins. A Nassau County Police spokesman said that the woman, driving a Buick Verano, rear-ended a few cars in the parking lot in front of the store before driving over a curb and through the window, coming to a halt about 20 feet into the building, right in front of the checkout counters.
Two serious injuries were reported, according to Oceanside Fire Chief Kevin Klein. One man was run over by the car and the other was pinned against a wall. Neither has life-threatening injuries, the chief added. About 40 people were reportedly in the store at the time of the crash. The victims were taken to South Nassau Communities Hospital in Oceanside and the Nassau County Medical Center in East Meadow. Fire officials say that the injuries ranged from broken bones and head injuries to cuts and bruises from the flying glass.
Officials say that most of the victims were treated and released, but at least one reportedly remained in Nassau County Medical Center over the weekend.
Klein told reporters that the driver, who was not injured, was “extremely disoriented” after, and perhaps before the crash
No charges will be brought against the driver, police sources say.
Herald guest columnist Ashley Gazes, an Oceanside resident who attends Life’s Worc in East Rockaway and works at Trader Joe’s, was not at work when the accident happened.
“Some of my co workers are alright and only had minor injuries,” said Gazes. “But on the other hand, I was freaking out because the only thing I could think about was if they were OK. I’m really happy to work there ... we are like a family — if anything happens we all go through it together.”