Crash in Glendale on Brand Boulevard

Arka Bijouterie owner Katrine Davtyan walks with a Glendale Police officer in her store after a car plowed into it at 305 N. Brand Blvd. in Glendale on Wednesday, Sept. 25, 2013. (Raul Roa / Staff Photographer / September 25, 2013)

This article was updated to include more information.

A car piloted by an 83-year-old driver plowed into a jewelry store on Brand Boulevard Wednesday after he reportedly drove forward, rather than putting the vehicle into reverse as he intended, according to his statement to police.

The driver, who wasn’t immediately identified, reportedly accelerated his 2012 Honda Accord into Arka Bijouterie in the 300 block of North Brand Boulevard at 12:31 p.m., knocking down a city light pole and traveling 50 feet into the store, according to Glendale police.

His passenger complained of pain and was transported to a local hospital to be treated for minor injuries, according to Glendale Fire Department spokeswoman Brandy Villanueva.

The driver and a bystander were evaluated by paramedics but did not require transport to a hospital, she added.

“We were very fortunate, considering where it happened and the time of day,” Glendale Police Sgt. Tom Lorenz said.

The last time a Glendale driver crashed into a building, a 55-year-old man was killed and minor injuries were sustained by four bystanders.

In March, a car driven by 71-year-old Wanda Wong slammed into Oledina’s Cake Factory in the 1100 block of East Broadway, killing Glendale resident Stepan Vardanyan, who was waiting for a cup of coffee at a counter inside the shop.

Investigators are still looking into the crash, but it appears Wong suffered a seizure and lost control of her Lexus, they said.

And on Feb. 15, a car driven by an 86-year-old woman crashed into a Starbucks in the 1700 block of West Glenoaks Boulevard after the driver stepped on the gas pedal instead of the brake, police said.

A customer who was sitting in the shop’s patio area had to jump out of the way of the Dodge Stratus to avoid being hit, police said. He and another bystander who tried to help the driver reportedly suffered small cuts on their heads.

Wednesday’s incident comes on the heels of a fatal collision on Saturday on Doran Street in which 88-year-old Balasan Mirzabegianliwasgan was struck by a motorist after she stepped out from between two parked vehicles, police said.

She was hit by a car driven by a 26-year-old Glendale man as she was reportedly crossing in the middle of the street. Police said the motorist was not under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

The series of recent collisions follow a report released in August that rated Glendale as having some of the worst drivers nationwide. Glendale ranked 190 out of 194 among the country’s largest cities in Allstate Insurance’s annual “America's Best Drivers” report. Glendale drivers ranked last among California cities.

While the report was based on collision claims filed by Allstate customers, the insurance company says the report provides a “realistic snapshot” of U.S. roadways because the company represents 10% of the country’s auto insurance policies.

Glendale Police officials have said the department has increased its public education and enforcement efforts to deal with the city’s traffic issues.

-- Veronica Rocha, veronica.rocha@latimes.com


Follow on Google+ and on Twitter: @VeronicaRochaLA

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