VIDEO: Video shows close call from car crash at Hamai Appliance
KAHULUI — Video surveillance shows a Toyota sedan barreling through the front glass door at Hamai Appliance, smashing into a showroom island and heading straight toward a saleswoman early Saturday afternoon.
At 12:18 p.m., the woman jumped out of her seat and ran away from the car as it rammed into her desk. Pinched between her desk and another behind her, she was left with a bruised leg and fractured two fingers and her thumb.
“The desk was moving so fast. I think she got caught in between,” Clyde Hamai, store owner and president, said on Tuesday. “But it wasn’t a direct hit luckily.”
(To see the store’s surveillance video, go to The Maui News website at www.mauinews.com.)
Footage from the parking lot shows the sedan slowly pulling into a stall at the front of the store, then suddenly accelerating into the entrance. Hamai said he believes the elderly woman driving the car meant to hit the brake and not the gas pedal.
“The building shook, actually,” he said. He thought a vehicle from the neighboring car lot bumped into the side of his store. “I heard my wife screaming, though, and I thought, ‘Oh my God, something bad happened.’ “
Several workers and customers came to help the saleswoman and driver, calm them down and make sure they were not badly injured. Hamai said the driver was “too stunned to even attempt to come out” and when she finally did she needed her walker.
The driver rested at the store for at least two hours after the crash and appeared to be fine, Hamai said. The woman apologized for the accident.
“I just told her, ‘Hey, just go home and rest,’ “ he said. “She’s a very good, longtime customer. I was just concerned about her health too because she’s kind of frail.”
The driver typically comes with her caretaker, but was alone Saturday, Hamai said. She came to the store to ask for directions and regularly “drops by to ask questions about this and that.”
The saleswoman visited the store Tuesday afternoon and told workers she was not “feeling too good,” Hamai said. She declined to comment.
Sales Manager Bryant Hamai, Clyde’s son, and several others were answering calls and showing off appliances to customers Tuesday afternoon. Plywood and a temporary door were placed at the entrance of the store, which reopened Sunday.
“You don’t expect to walk out and see a car sitting in the middle of your showroom,” he recalled. “We still got skid marks. The desks are all banged up, but luckily we were able to open for business the following day. We just got to work through it.”
Bryant Hamai could be seen running to the aid of the saleswoman and jumped on top of one of the desks to see if she was injured. He said he was thankful no one was seriously hurt.
“Holy s—! That was the first thing that came to my mind,” he said. “It was definitely a scary moment. You don’t see that every day, so you don’t even know what to do.”
Clyde Hamai estimated damages at roughly $30,000 to $40,000, not including reconstruction of the front entrance. The business’s insurance company has already sent an adjuster, and a “green light” has been given to do repairs and replace damaged products.
“They’re very nice and said, ‘Yeah get your store back into shape and order whatever you need to order,’ “ Hamai said. “We have several desks and chairs that got smashed so we’re looking around for some new furniture too.”
Unfortunately, the heavily damaged showroom area contained high-end appliances, including Sub-Zero refrigerators, Wolf cooking equipment and Asko dishwashers. Hamai said that he is not sure if some displays can be repaired or need to be replaced.
It normally takes four or five weeks for appliances to get to the store, he said.
In 47 years of working at the store his parents opened in 1969, Hamai recalled only one other similar incident. About 25 years ago, a man drove over the hump and the nose of the car stuck through the wall and glass.
“I’ve seen a lot of stuff happen in 47 years, but cars driving into my store – I think I’ve seen more than my share,” he said.
* Chris Sugidono can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.