East Grinstead baby shop car smash could have 'wiped out' a family
A CAR smashed into an East Grinstead baby shop – minutes before it was due to open up for the day.
The blue Nissan Note careered through the windows of Nursery Gear in London Road on Monday morning, destroying all of the stock inside.
The shop sells push-chairs and child car seats, and owner Safwan Safabani has said there could have been a tragedy if the crash had happened minutes later.
Surveying the £15,000 worth of damage in the shop, he said: "It is a small blessing that no one was in the shop at the time and no one was injured.
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"Just ten minutes later and I could have been opening the shop and there could have been babies and children in the shop.
"If a family were in here then it could have wiped them all out. It does not bear thinking about."
Mr Safabani said he had expected an accident like this would happen one day because his shop faces the end of Moat Road where cars come out.
Describing the day of the crash he said: "I was cursing the amount of traffic that was backed up when I was on my way into work.
"As I was drawing closer to the shop I kept saying to myself 'please don't let it be my shop'. And when I got here, my knees went weak and I felt so shaky.
"It is a complete shock. I went completely blank and I had no idea what to do – I just froze."
Police, ambulance and fire crews were all called to the scene just before 9am.
Two elderly people were in the car and one of them, believed to be the driver, was taken to East Surrey Hospital by ambulance.
"Police have told me the driver was taken to hospital because he has diabetes and had high blood sugar levels," added Mr Safabani, who said he had previously written to West Sussex County Council requesting railings be installed as a roadside barrier.
Ron Mead, 93, lives in the flat above the shop and told the Courier & Observer he heard a loud bang then looked out of his living room window.
"I could not see anything to begin with and I did not think much of it until I heard other crashes and bangs," he said.
"I came downstairs and the police were already there and said I could not go back into the house in case it was structurally unsafe. I am glad that there wasn't anyone in the shop and I am also glad I was not stood outside my flat when it happened, otherwise I might not be here now."
The independent business has only been in the town for a year and Mr Safabani said he had yet to break even, adding: "This is going to set me back a lot, but I am determined to make a go of this place and make it work."