VALPARAISO | Charles Randle had just walked out of his upholstery business Thursday morning and walked past an SUV as it pulled into the parking lot.
“A few seconds later I just heard a big boom,” Randle said.
The driver of the SUV was pulling into a parking space along the strip of small businesses at 1202 Formula Drive and apparently hit the accelerator instead of the brake, driving through the front wall of the business.
No one was inside the store, and the driver was not injured.
But the SUV smashed everything in its path, including some of Randle’s equipment and furniture that was in the store.
The driver, a 70-year-old Valparaiso man, told police he hit the wrong pedal as he was trying to park.
Randle, the owner of Upholstery by Charles, said he hoped to begin cleanup as soon as possible in the space he has leased since 2003.
The crash surprised other business owners and customers who were at the building Thursday.
“I was just sitting here, then we heard a big crash,” said Joe Mosqueda of Valparaiso, who was getting his hair cut at Valpo Barbers, two door down from the wreck.
Witnesses said they rushed out to the scene and were relieved to see that no one was injured.