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Towns Looking For Answers After Another Car Crashes into Building | News

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Towns Looking For Answers After Another Car Crashes into Building

TONAWANDA, N.Y. - These days, it's happening so often, it's getting hard to keep count. Early Sunday morning in Tonawanda, yet another car crashed into a business.

The impact was so hard, it ripped away nearly half of the Highland Parkway barbershop. Inside, the damage seemed even worse. It was the result of a 2 a.m. car crash that left the 19-year-old driver seriously hurt, and the shop owner without a business.

"The cop come and get me at two o'clock this morning," said shop owner Tony Pinzone, who speaks with a heavy accent in broken English. "And they bring me here, and they bring me from the back... Very sad."

It also is apparently, more and more common. In the last year, we have seen all sorts of vehicles accidentally smashing into businesses. Some, like this latest wreck, involve cars running off the road, but more often these crashes seem to involve parked cars whose drivers aren't being careful.

The most tragic example happened in September of last year, when a car crashed into the Chee'burger Chee'burger restaurant in Amherst, killing a local couple, injuring their son and a server.

After that crash, Guy Marlette, who if the Deputy Supervisor of the town of Amherst, began working with developers, looking for ways to protect restaurant and shop goers.

REPORTER: How big of a problem is this becoming?
MARLETTE: When we looked at it back about a year ago, right after the Chee'burger Chee'burger incident, (it) was averaging about 13-17 per month, which was quite a shocking number.

The town is now considering requiring all newly-built businesses to install barriers called "bollards" in front of them, or to simply to move the parking spaces further away from the business.

"There is really nothing you can do to prevent bad driving," Marlette said. "But what we're saying is there is a way, especially if the cars are going to be parked up to the face of the building, that there is probably a better design that can be involved."

Although we have not heard of any local community attempting to do what Amherst is trying, Marlette says other communities in the south have passed similar measures. He said the town is taking its time and consulting with developers to avoid making any hasty decisions. He also noted that all existing buildings would be exempt.


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