Woman drives car into strip mall in North Reading

A 54-year-old woman accidentally drove her 2010 Toyota Prius into two storefronts in a strip mall in North Reading at about 11:45 a.m. today.

While she was backing out of a parking spot, the woman, whose name was not released, hit a sign. She then put the car in drive, the car lurched forward into the front of Performance Plus Hair Salon and Chic Nail and Spa in the Heritage building strip mall. No one was injured.

Ashley Madison, 20, a receptionist at the salon, was in the back room when the accident occurred. “I heard a loud crash and I thought a shelf with all the products had fallen.’’

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According to Madison, the driver said she accidentally hit the gas pedal instead of the brake.

There were three or four customers in the salon, but no one was near the point of impact when the car came through the wall. Madison said the salon will be closed for the rest of the day and was unsure about when it will reopen.

Mike Murphy, incoming chief of the North Reading police department, said that fire fighters and building inspectors were on the scene this afternoon. He said that there was substantial damage but that the building at 133 Main St. was structurally sound.

Murphy said that the woman will be responsible for the cost of repairs to the building.

Michael Barry, vice president of media relations at the Insurance Information Institute, said that the woman’s car insurance likely will cover the damage.

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