A Roanoke County car wash is looking into installing new and stronger barriers after one of its employees crashed a Ford Expedition into a next-door beauty business on Saturday morning.
Just before 10 a.m., employee Stephanie Austin was driving a 2008 Ford Expedition out of the car wash headed toward another cleaning area at the Tanglewood Auto Wash on Electric Road. But the vehicle got away from her, said Officer Natalie Maxey of the Roanoke County police.
It drove straight forward, knocking down several barriers and crashing into the side of the Beauty Bar, a business next door.
“It went completely into the place of business,” Maxey said.
Some customers and employees were inside the Beauty Bar, but no one was injured, Maxey said.
She could not estimate the total damage to the building or to the vehicle.
The Ford Expedition is owned by Elizabeth Johnson of Roanoke, who was waiting for her vehicle to be cleaned, Maxey said.
Austin, 39, of Roanoke County, has been charged with reckless driving on private property, Maxey said.
Mike Bell, manager of the Tanglewood Auto Wash, said today that he does not know exactly what happened to make the Ford crash into the building. He considers the situation an accident. Austin, who has worked at the auto wash for more than a year, will remain employed, Bell said.
“Thank God nobody was hurt,” he said.
The auto wash’s insurance likely will cover damages to Johnson’s vehicle, he said.
“We are responsible for the vehicle,” Bell said.
Meanwhile, his business is evaluating what other kinds of barriers could be added between the auto wash and the Beauty Bar to prevent this kind of accident from happening again.
– Jenny Boone