10/01/06 — Shoe store to reopen next week after crash

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Shoe store to reopen next week after crash

By Lee Williams
Published in News on October 1, 2006 2:01 AM

An Atlanta man plowed into the Payless shoe store in the Wal-Mart shopping center Thursday evening prompting three young children and seven other customers to dive out of the vehicle's path.

David Harrell Mathis, 46, of Chamblee-Tucker Road, was behind the wheel of a 2006 Ford sports-utility vehicle, when he pressed the accelerator and drove through the right side of the building on North Spence Avenue.

Authorities say Mathis' cell phone was the culprit behind Thursday's crash, which occurred at 7:21 p.m.

Goldsboro police said the driver was attempting to make a call on his cell phone and was going to park next to the business when he got confused and stepped on the gas pedal instead of the brake.

The vehicle traveled 15 mph as it entered the store, crashing through the wall of the building, according to police reports. Debris from the battered wall and the store's contents that surrounded the crash site still lay scattered around the store Friday morning.

Twelve people were in the store, including 10 customers, the store manager and a store associate, at the time of the crash, officials said.

No one was injured, but the crash caused more than $35,000 in damage to the shoe store and another $2,000 in damage to Mathis' SUV, which had to be towed, police said. Mathis was cited for careless and reckless driving.

The crash comes two weeks after a customer drove through the front glass window of Quality Cleaners on Wayne Memorial Drive severely injuring the store owner earlier this month. Another driver crashed into Eckerd's pharmacy on Berkeley Boulevard this month.

Payless ShoeSource Store Manager Diane Parks said vehicles crashing into businesses are becoming a bit of a problem problem in Wayne County

"Everybody wants a drive-thru. Fast and quick shopping," Ms. Parks joked Saturday while taking a brief pause from reorganizing the store. "Drive-thru shoe shopping is not going to happen."

Ms. Parks said the demolition and other construction crews are working to get the store ready for business again. She hopes to reopen the store Wednesday or Thursday.

While the crash put a damper on weekend profits, Ms. Parks knows there's still a silver lining in every cloud.

"I'm just glad that nobody got hurt," she said. "We can repair a building, but we can't repair a life."