Truck ends up inside Poplar Bluff business after accident

Friday, October 2, 2009

POPLAR BLUFF, Mo. -- No serious injuries were reported following in a four-vehicle accident Wednesday afternoon that left a pickup truck in the middle of B&K Trading Company's showroom on Highway 53.

Witnesses say the vehicle's 17-year-old driver was traveling in excess of 60 miles per hour when the incident occurred just before 3:30 p.m. The speed limit in that area is 35.

Officers were still collecting statements and no charges had been filed Thursday against the pickup's driver, Poplar Bluff resident Cody Potts, said Poplar Bluff Police Department Lt. Ralph Jefferson.

Potts was eastbound on Highway 53 in a 2007 Chevrolet truck when he crossed into oncoming traffic, sideswiped three vehicles, lost his left front tire and crashed into B&K Trading, according to information Jefferson collected at the scene.

Inside the store were the business's owner, Kim Haynes, six vendors and several customers.

"It's just a miracle none of us were hurt," said Haynes, who is open for business Thursday. "We had just finished stocking that wall (where the truck crashed through). But nobody was at the front of the store where he came through at that moment. He was flying when he came in."

If a steel beam had not given way on Potts windshield and slid above the truck, he would have been seriously injured, according to Haynes.

When the truck stopped, its back bumper was 20 feet from the wall it crashed through, Jefferson said.

It was six feet from the register where Haynes was standing when it struck the building. She and others in the building fled to the back door when they heard the accident begin, Haynes said.

Outside, Potts had struck a 2006 PT Cruiser, a 2008 Impala and a 2001 Ford Escort, Jefferson said.

Drivers in two of those vehicles were taken by ambulance to Poplar Bluff Regional Medical Center. PT Cruiser driver Meagan Miller, 20, of Poplar Bluff told officers an area below her right knee was hurt and had blood on her left forearm from a cut. Impala driver Stacy McElhaney, 30, of Neelyville, Mo. reported her neck hurt.

Escort driver Jennifer Baney, 18, of Qulin did not report any injuries. Potts had a small cut on one leg, Jefferson said.

Potts said after the accident he did not know what happened and police continue to investigate, according to Jefferson.

Haynes and others were at her 6-year-old business until midnight, cleaning up and securing the building. She reopened Thursday morning, with the damaged area roped off, and planned to have a sidewalk sale of damaged items Friday.

"Being privately owned, we can't afford to be closed," Haynes said.

She believes there is more than $60,000 in damage to merchandise at the store. She says a custom motorcycle crushed under the front bumper of the truck accounts for $30,000.

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