It was 9 a.m. Sunday, and all was quiet along Glover Road on a typical weekend morning in downtown Fort Langley.
There was a handful of people out for a morning stroll, and on a couple of occasions, the exact question was asked as they passed by The Happy Kitchen and Diora Boutique, neighbouring businesses both shielded by plywood sheets.
“Are they renovating?”
Coffee mug in hand, Gary Walsh had the answer. He heard the crash as a Ford Mustang slammed through the two stores on the west side of Glover at about 1:30 a.m. earlier that day.
Walsh lives a couple doors down from the stores and was startled by the sound of the accident.
“I heard the smash, I got up, I looked out my front window, I see people running up, and I hear the alarms,” Walsh said. “So I’m thinking, ‘That’s not a car crash, those are building alarms.’”
He said he saw a car “stuck out of the window,” when he ventured out onto the road to take a look at what happened.
Walsh related to the Langley Advance that the driver, who was the lone occupant of the car, said to him that, “My life is ****ed.”
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“It had a temporary operation permit on the car,” Walsh said.
“He hit this curb and the airbag exploded,” Walsh said. “He hit that curb pretty good. The airbag exploded and he lost control.”
Walsh said described the sound of the crash as “weird.”
“It was kind of like – believe it or not – hearing a dump truck dumping a load of gravel on the road,” Walsh said.
The Langley RCMP arrived to find the man identified as the driver still nearby, said Cpl. Holly Largy, spokesperson for the local police.
The officers detached a mild odour of liquor, and the driver admitted to using drugs, said Largy.
He was handed an immediate 24-hour driving ban, and also ticketed for failing to have his driver’s licence, failure to display licence plates, and driving without due care and attention, said Largy.
The 28-year-old driver is from Langley. The car, a 2000 Mustang, was insured at the time, Largy said.
Meanwhile, the store owners are picking up the pieces.
“I’m not sure what the damage is at this point,” The Happy Kitchen owner Angela Gauthier said, when initially contacted by the Advance. “Definitely structural as the entire front of both stores were ripped right off, [and] temporary support [is] in place to keep the roof from falling in at the front.”
As for the merchandise, Gauthier said on Monday that the front third of the store “looks like a garbage dump,” with lots of broken glass, furniture pieces, insulation, and ceiling tiles scattered around.
By Tuesday, Gauthier had some bad news.
She said it looks like at will take at least a month or more before The Happy Kitchen opens again.
“Both stores have to be emptied out, put into storage and let the restoration crew in,” she said. “Support walls compromised, ceiling compromised… pretty big mess.”