DEWITT, N.Y. — A Syracuse woman wanted to go to a Speedway gas station in DeWitt on Monday, but when she tried to park she stepped on the accelerator instead of the brake, state police said.
Cheryl Bellino’s 2009 gray Kia Optima slammed into the garage door on the north side of the Speedway gas station, at 357 Nottingham Road in the town of DeWitt, Trooper Waleed Javed said.
Her car went about two feet into the building and caused significant structural damage, Javed said.
DeWitt firefighters said Bellino, 64, was “lucky the building did not collapse on her vehicle because it took out the wall connecting to a roof beam,” Javed said.
Bellino was shaken up, but not injured in the crash at 4:22 p.m., the trooper said. No one else was injured either, he said.
The Speedway manager and another employee were working at the time, but the main part of the convenience store is on the south side of the building — away from where Bellino’s car hit the building, Javed said.
At least one customer was outside in the parking lot when the crash happened. A man putting air in his tires told Trooper Javed and Trooper Nicholas Drake that he saw the woman drive slowly (about 5 mph) around the parking lot, then speed up as she tried to park and crash, according to state police. Video surveillance showed exactly what the witness said, Javed said.
Bellino, however, told the troopers she had just recently purchased the car and she thought there might be something mechanically wrong with it.
“But that was not the case,” Javed said. “She wanted to park, but instead accelerated into the garage door.”
The front of the Kia Optima was damaged when Bellino crashed into the building and then backed out, the trooper said.
The impact of the crash pushed in the garage door and damaged the wall connecting a roof beam, Javed said. DeWitt firefighters were able to stabilize the beam, he said.
The DeWitt town code enforcement officer arrived at the scene to inspect the damage.
Speedway was able to remain open, the trooper said.
State police say Bellino was not impaired by alcohol or drugs, and she did not appear to have any medical issues that would have contributed to the crash. Although troopers said the crash was “preventable,” they did not ticket Bellino.