Tuesday, January 23 , 2018, 8:08 pm | Fair 52º



Collins Market in Los Alamos Reopens After Weekend Vehicle Crash

The store and an upstairs apartment were deemed uninhabitable after a car driven by a teen girl hit the building, causing more than $25,000 in damage

A Los Alamos business reopened Wednesday after being evacuated when a car driven by a teenager struck and badly damaged the building Sunday.

Building inspectors on Wednesday afternoon cleared the reopening of Collins Market at 290 Bell St. when a brace was put up on the ground level, according to market owner Cathy Leblanc.

Four residents of an upstairs apartment were able to move back in Tuesday night, she said.

Collins Market was deemed “uninhabitable” Sunday evening, after a Toyota Avalon driven by a 17-year-old Los Alamos girl hit the mixed-use building just before 6 p.m., causing major structural damage.

Authorities enforced a red-tag status, evacuating the market and one of two upstairs apartments.

There were no injuries in the crash, and the cause of the collision was still under investigation this week, according to California Highway Patrol Officer Craig Carrier.

He couldn’t say whether the driver would be cited, but noted she had two passengers at the time of the collision.

Leblanc, who owns the market with her husband, said she was sad to see the damage — $25,000 to $30,000 to the building alone — but was grateful no one was hurt.


Collins Market
A 1,500-pound soda refrigerator toppled when a vehicle crashed through the side of Collins Market in Los Alamos on Sunday. That area of the store will remain under red-tag status until construction can be completed in the coming weeks. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)

“Our stocker was just stocking that cooler about a half-hour before," she said, referring to the 1,500-pound Pepsi cooler that toppled upon the impact. “Where the car hit I believe it’s a main joint.”

The Leblancs own the building and business that’s been in the family for more than three decades. Cathy Leblanc took over the market from her parents in July 2007.

Cathy Leblanc put the four displaced residents up in a nearby hotel, while two residents of the second apartment were able to stay because they were on the opposite side of the building, she said.

The area where the Pepsi cooler toppled over will remain under red-tag status until construction can be completed in the coming weeks, she said, but that the rest of the business — including a deli and gas station — would operate as usual.

Employees worked to clean up the mess of soda bottles and debris Wednesday morning, readying the market for a much-anticipated 1 p.m. reopening.

Noozhawk staff writer Gina Potthoff can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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