Workers scramble for safety after car hits Courtenay kayak shop at high speed

Workers scramble for safety after car hits Courtenay kayak shop at high speed
WatchPolice say a female driver suffered a medical issue before losing control of her can and smashing into the side of a kayak store at high speed. Dean Stoltz reports.

The surveillance video is difficult to watch knowing a young woman is behind the wheel when her car shoots across three lanes of traffic and a sidewalk before launching into the side of Comox Valley Kayaks on Cliff Avenue.

“And all of a sudden it just hits the building,” said Jayleen Van Velzen was working with about four others when the crash happened Sunday afternoon.

“My co-worker saw paddles flying off the shelf and then we looked over and we saw that there were headlights so then we had to crawl out the front door.”

Emergency crews raced to the scene as other drivers and store workers pushed away the scattered kayaks to see if the woman was okay.

“We saw her, she was obviously crying and she was a little scratched up but she was coherent and my co-worker Craig made her spell her name and she knew her name,” added Van Velzen.

Police say a medical issue led to the woman losing control of her car farther south on Cliff avenue.

On the video, she can be seen almost going into the opposing lanes of traffic on a curve in the road then crossing the middle turning lane and two more lanes of northbound traffic before mounting the curb and hitting the store.

Firefighters had to free her from her car and she was taken to hospital for treatment of non-life threatening injuries.

“Honestly, it’s August, it’s our time when we sell our rental kayaks and the shop is usually a flurry of activity and the fact that no one was hurt is shocking and miraculous really,” said store manager Kerry Webb.

Sunday’s crash wasn’t the first, second, or even third time this has happened at the store.

“Well, this is about the 6th or 7th car that’s driven into our business from different angles,” said Webb. “It’s like we’re a magnet for cars. Nobody’s been hurt anytime so we’re really lucky.”

The store has been closed since Sunday but it will re-open tomorrow (Wednesday) at noon.

Dean StoltzDean Stoltz

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