Bartell Drugs erects barriers to protect shoppers from cars

   Linda Sommerville is lucky to be alive.

   The Magnolia resident suffered a freak accident when she was crushed underneath a car while shopping inside the Magnolia Bartell Drugs last year. 

   The driver, a reportedly elderly woman   who had parked in front of the store, accidentally put the car into drive instead of reverse – ramming right through the front of the store where Sommerville was standing.

   Sommerville was rushed to Harborview Medical Center with such severe injuries, she said, that two other hospitals – including Swedish Medical Center – refused to take her.

   Now, a year later, she still has not recovered.

   But in response to Sommerville’s accident – and to other similar crashes in the store – Bartell’s recently put up concrete barrier posts in front of the store, designed to keep these crashes from continuing.

   The facility is set up where roughly five parking head-in spaces are aligned in front of the store entrance. The sidewalk that separates the store from the parking area is thin, especially in the wheel-chair ramp area. The entrance is made largely of glass.

   The new barrier posts sit on top of the sidewalk, just one foot or so away from the noses of the cars.

   According to published reports, anonymous fliers were recently circulated around the Magnolia area asking store management to do something to protect the safety of employees and shoppers. According to a flier, cars have crashed through the front of the building five times in the last 20 years.

   When Sommerville first approached Bartell’s management suggesting that the store implement safety measures, she said an employee laughed at her and told her such a thing would not happen.

   Similarly, Magnolia resident-activists also contacted Bartell’s corporate offices, but with no positive responses for their request.

   “I was hoping I could approach Bartell’s at a later time to speak with someone else and see if there was a way for protection,” Sommerville said. 

   Finally in mid-February 2012 – nine months after Sommerville was hit– Bartell officials decided to install the construction posts to prevent head-on collisions. 

   Sommerville is pleased with Bartell’s new move, but is skeptical about its long-term efficiency.

   “I’m glad of what they’ve done, and time will tell if they should do more,” she said. “I’m very glad that they stepped forward.”


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