Car accelerates into Rite Aid store

Driver confused gas, brake pedals, police say
Damaged plants and broken windows mark the front of the Medford Center Rite Aid on Monday after a driver apparently stepped on the gas instead of the brake and plowed her car into the building.Bob Pennell

A 76-year-old woman accidentally drove her car into the front of a Medford Rite Aid late Monday morning, punching a hole in one of the store's panels and sending broken glass and debris into the interior.

Medford Fire-Rescue officials said the woman, Annette Tomat of Medford, had been pulling into the parking area in front of the Medford Center Rite Aid store at 11:36 a.m. Police said the woman apparently confused the gas pedal with the brake and accelerated suddenly. The sedan traveled up onto the curb, plowed through some flowers and plants displayed outside the store and smashed into the building.

No shoppers or employees were hurt in the collision, nor was Tomat, fire officials said. The collision damaged a section of the building and broke some windows. The car was pulled away from the building and the damaged area cordoned off to shoppers. The store remained open.

"People were still coming in and out of the store. It was just that one little area," said Battalion Chief Ron Nelson.

Damage estimates weren't available, as Rite Aid officials declined comment. Police said Tomat will not be cited but will be retested for her driver's license.

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