by Christine Voelker
A van crashed through the Ford City Laundromat yesterday injuring a customer who was doing his laundry inside at the time.
The incident occurred at 2:33 PM. A GMC Safari dark tan van driven by 54-year-old Vicki South of Ford City was pulling into the Laundromat parking lot at 1622 5th Avenue when the driver lost control and went through the front of the building, coming to rest inside.
Ford City Police Sergeant John Atherton said the driver indicated her brakes failed.
“If she was having difficulty with the braking system on the car and she forcefully applied the brake during that time, if her foot was half way on the break and on the gas, that could result in the vehicle crashing through.”
Atherton said the van was towed by Mike’s Towing and was being inspected this morning for mechanical failure. If no mechanical failure is found, South could be cited for various traffic offenses.
70-year-old Stanley Smolen, Jr., was the only customer inside the building doing his laundry at the time of the crash. According to Atherton, he sustained minor injuries and was transported to ACMH Hospital by Ford City Ambulance.
“An eye-witness believes a 12-inch concrete block struck him on the right leg and thigh area from the crash,” Atherton said.
He also said there was extensive damage to the building and contents.
“(There were) five double washers damaged, two triple-loaders, and one heavy-duty washer (for a total of eight washers damaged), a laundry cart, and some tile on the floor was damaged from one washer, and a lot of structural damage from in front of the building.”
Bystanders said South was visibly upset.
Ford City Police was assisted by the Ford City Fire Department. There is no estimate available on costs to repair the facility.