The sign in front of the vacant store formerly home to Pleasant Cleaners on Erie Boulevard reads “Parking for Dry Cleaners Customers Only.” It mentions nothing about a drive-thru.
The building has one now, after a Schenectady man backed his car through the side of building at 1321 Erie Blvd. next to the Boulevard Bowl, sending debris from the cinder block building with a fiberglass and concrete exterior hurtling across its interior.
“This became vacant in mid-February,” building owner Ajay Vohra of Guilderland said. “I’m glad no one was inside.”
It was one of two accidents within minutes of each other Friday afternoon in which buildings in Schenectady County took direct hits from wayward drivers.
Also shortly before 4:30 p.m., a motorist struck Malozzi’s Belvedere Inn at 1926 Curry Road in Rotterdam. In that case a driver drove through several lanes of traffic and a pair of parking lots before striking the hotel, causing minor damage.
“Luckily, she didn’t hit any vehicles,” Rotterdam Sgt. Jeff Collins said. “It was a lucky day.”
The driver, whose name and age were not immediately available, was transported to St. Peter’s Hospital in Albany with minor injuries, and issued tickets charging her with failure to keep right and unlicensed operation.
Like the Schenectady crash, alcohol and drugs were ruled out as factors.
In Schenectady, a 2005 Kia Amanti sped out of a parking space, leaving tire marks, and crashed directly into the dry cleaners 30 feet away. The driver, Syed Rahman, 53, of Schenectady, was issued traffic tickets charging him with third-degree aggravated unlicensed operation, an unclassified misdemeanor; backing unsafely and unsafe starting. He was released on appearance tickets. No injuries were reported, but the accident left the building with a gaping hole on the side of the vacant store. A business on the other side, XPress Cash, was not affected.
Vohra, the building owner, came to the scene to assess the damage and help secure the store.
“I’ll rent it as a drive-thru,” he joked. “That’s not a bad idea.”