Jeep rams into urgent-care office

The Enterprise — Michael Koff

Plywood covers the site where a vehicle went into the physical-therapy area of a walk-in medical-treatment office  in Guilderland Monday. No one was hurt.

GUILDERLAND — On Monday morning, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, a vehicle crashed into a physical-therapy area of Albany WalkIn Care at 1971 Western Ave., a complex next door to Hewitt’s Garden Center.

No one, including the driver, was hurt, according to Deputy Chief of Police Curtis Cox, who said the vehicle was a jeep.

Cox identified the driver as 59-year-old Denise Mullenevans of Schenectady.

Mullenevans attempted to pump her brakes and was not sure if she had pumped the brake or the accelerator, Cox said, reading from the arrest report.

The accident doesn’t mention any testing for alcohol, but Cox said that a test is only administered when the officer on the scene has reason to suspect alcohol use.

There will be no charges against her, Cox said.

A call to Mullenevans was not returned. Staff at Albany WalkIn Care declined to talk Wednesday, saying, “It’s over.”

It is not clear how the vehicle went into the building at an angle perpendicular to the parking spaces.

Brian Clark, owner of the UPS store that is in the same building as Albany WalkIn Care, said he got a side-view glimpse of something going by and heard the “boom.”

Clark said that cars have crashed into the plaza twice before, once into a bank that is no longer a tenant in the building, and the other time, which was the first time, into the UPS store itself, about 15 years ago.

“It was a miracle,” Clark said, referring to the timing of the incident at the UPS store.

It happened right after Christmas; the buildup to Christmas is of course a very busy time for shipping offices.

The vehicle crashed in and halfway through the store, but there was no one standing there, he said.

“If it had been a couple of days earlier, people would have absolutely gotten killed,” Clark said. “As it was, debris was flying through the air, and some people were hit with debris.”

That accident happened, he said, when a mother left her car running with two small children inside, and they crawled into the front seat and hit the gas.

One of those children, he said, is now a State Trooper. He knows that, he said, because both the young man and his grandparents have been into the store and have talked about the incident.

As Clark was talking with The Enterprise, a customer entered the store and made a show of going all the way through to the back. She quipped to Clark, “Stay away from the windows!”

Building owner Phil Roberts said that the second incident at the building had been a mother teaching her 16-year-old daughter, who had a learner’s permit, to drive. The girl had not aligned the car properly in the parking space, he said, and her mother had scolded her, making her nervous, so that, when she tried to correct it, she hit the gas instead of the brake.

“But it’s puzzling how this one could happen,” he said of the recent incident. “The driver had to go up over the curb, turn the wheel and drive 80 feet to go into the building. And apparently she didn’t hit the brakes because the car jumped up over the brick steps”; the urgent-care clinic is raised up slightly above ground level.

Asked if he had thought about putting in more concrete posts around the building, Roberts said that he had put them only at those corners where the buildings were closest to the roadways.

He said, “You just have to hope that most people on the road know how to drive and don’t do these things.”

More Guilderland News

  • During the pandemic, many Lynnwood Elementary students had been through “levels of trauma,” said their art teacher, Krista Gillis. She came up with a project that would show them, on their return to school, “They belong here and we love them.”

  • Borrego Solar is seeking variances to be able to clear-cut more trees than code allows and to have its solar panels located closer to all the neighbors’ property lines than what is currently allowed by law, which was one of the reforms included in the April amendments package to the town’s solar law.

  • During an Oct. 6 town board meeting, Supervisor Peter Barber noted that Guilderland had been prepared for a difficult 2021 budget in part because of planning that began long before anyone had heard of the coronavirus. 

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