Elderly driver ticketed, store closed

Car Slams Into Hampton Marketplace In East Hampton




The accident left two with minor injuries, but a major mess at Hampton Marketplace. Independent/Michael Heller

A car went through the front entrance and into Hampton Marketplace in East Hampton Village on Friday afternoon, injuring two people inside the building, East Hampton Village Police Chief Mike Tracey said.

The elderly man behind the wheel thought he had his Subaru Outback in park after he pulled into the market’s parking lot at 36 Race Lane. Police were called at about 3:10 PM. Officers are still investigating what happened, but alcohol and drugs do not appear to be a factor. Police cited the driver with several summons.

“The driver, he went squarely through the front door of the building,” and went roughly 25 feet inside, East Hampton Fire Department Chief Gerard Turza Jr. said. He reported finding no structural damage.

When the Fire Department arrived numerous people were already outside of the building, including the driver, patrons, and employees.

The police chief said two people inside were “knocked over” and sustained minor injures in the crash, “which by the grace of God is pretty fortunate,” the fire chief added. The East Hampton Village Ambulance Association transported both to Stony Brook Southampton Hospital.

The car hit and displaced a refrigerated display aisle, knocking it off of its foundation, Turza said. Some electrical wiring was exposed and refrigeration lines were damaged, too. The car “also hit the front checkout counter as was evidenced by people leaving their money and running,” he said.

“There was a slight haze in the building so I called for a department response of two engines, heavy rescue, and the tower ladder,” the fire chief said. Firefighters ventilated the building of the haze, which may have been from refrigerant that was in the lines. Witnesses also said that one of the car’s tire had been spinning on the concrete in the initial stages of the crash.

Firefighters also secured the power to some of the affected areas, secured the vehicle, and stood by while a tow company removed the vehicle from the premises, according to the fire chief.

The police chief was not sure how long Hampton Marketplace would be closed for, but said there was “significant clean up to do.”

The village fire marshal and the building inspector also responded to help the owner come up with a plan for reopening. The New York Department of Agriculture and Markets was also notified.

East Hampton firefighters responded to a similar accident less than a week ago. A car went through hedges and hit the side of a house on Toilsome Lane in the village, though in that case the driver was arrested on drunken driving charges.

taylor@indyeastend.com