By Mary O’KEEFE
A little after noon on Tuesday, Nareh Marootian, a receptionist at Skin Therapeutics, Medical Aesthetics, Inc. and Acupuncture and Herb Center in the 3700 block of Foothill Boulevard, was working with a customer when she heard a loud noise.
“I was in the [back] room when I heard a loud bang,” Marootian said. “It was such a loud noise.”
Marootian went to the front door of the business and looked outside.
“At first it was hard to believe,” she said.
What befuddled her was the sight of the back end of a Toyota Corolla hanging over the brick wall in front of the business. The stairs that led down to the front door of the office were cluttered with bricks and splinters of what was left of the tree that once stood on the sidewalk in front.
A 35-year-old Sunland man who had lost control of his vehicle and hit several cars ended up crashing through the brick wall.
The incident occurred at 12:17 p.m. when the Sunland man lost control of his silver Toyota Corolla, hit two vehicles, then two parked cars, sheared off a tree and crashed into a brick wall before finally stopping, teetering on the wall above the local business on Foothill Boulevard.
According to witness statements, the initial accident occurred just east of Everest restaurant in the 3800 block of Foothill Boulevard approaching Boston Avenue, said Officer Tom Broadway.
“He collided with the first car twice,” he said.
The driver hit the first vehicle while traveling eastbound on Foothill Boulevard in the number two lane. The Corolla struck that vehicle, swerved around it and struck it again. The Corolla began spinning and sideswiped another vehicle also traveling eastbound. He drove through a red traffic signal at Boston Avenue and Foothill Boulevard. The car then went into the bike lane and struck two parked vehicles, causing one of the parked cars to strike a utility pole.
The Corolla then hit the tree that was on the sidewalk, shearing it about two feet above its foundation before smashing through the brick wall that was at the front entrance to Skin Therapeutics.
Chris Waldheim, owner of J’s Maintenance in the 3500 block of Foothill Boulevard, witnessed the accident.
“I was driving to grab lunch with my dad and slowing down as I approached Boston [Avenue] when the silver [Corolla] caught my eye,” Waldheim said. “It was moving way too fast and made a last- minute maneuver to miss the cars at the red light [at Boston Avenue].
“After that [he made] a hard right turn to miss the cars, he swerved left to get back into the middle of the street. I saw it was going to get ugly so I pulled my car into the center median as he fishtailed and then slammed into the parked car 20 feet from me at full speed.”
Waldheim described the scene of glass breaking and metal and plastic flying as the vehicle hit the cars, then the wall.
He got out of his vehicle and ran over to check on the driver, then dialed 911.
“I asked him if he was OK and he was just moaning,” Waldheim said.
He saw that the airbag had deployed and attempted to open the vehicle’s door, but both interior and exterior handles were smashed making it impossible.
In addition to police, Glendale Fire Department responded. The driver was transported to Huntington Memorial. Officer Broadway said he was unsure of his condition at press time.
“But he was talking in the ambulance,” he said.
A passenger in the first vehicle that the man hit complained of pain but was not transported.
No one else reported any injuries.
“One of our [patients] was involved in the accident. The [man] hit her parked car,” Maroontian said. “Two other [clients] had just moved their cars, just before the accident.”
The investigation is ongoing, however from witness reports it appears the man was driving between 50 to 60 miles per hour; the posted speed is 40 miles per hour at the location.
Broadway said due to the radical behavior of the driver, the man might have had a heart attack or seizure.