Sharon Symes stands beside the boarded-up entrance to Porter’s Coffee and Tea shop. A young driver lost control of her vehicle on Monday evening and crashed into the front of the store at Murrayville's Five Corners

Close call for coffee house owner

Sharon Symes’ week included a burglary and a near-fatal crash

Sharon Symes had just put her hand on the front door handle of Porter’s Bistro Coffee & Tea House to check the lock, when she saw the car across the street coming straight for her.

Her bad week was about to get worse.

Symes and her 15-year-old daughter Sydney had gone to the bistro after hours to re-stock supplies because they’d been busy dealing with the after-effects of a break-in at their home on Monday, Aug. 15.

Two professional thieves had removed about $20,000 worth of property from their South Surrey home.

Because they were being tailed by police, the pair didn’t get far, but they dumped some of the stolen goods during the police chase, throwing items out the windows of their van.

Restocking supplies of milk and pop and other items at the Langley bistro was disrupted as a result.

So mother and daughter went in after hours to get caught up.

When they finished around 7 p.m., Symes went to check the front door, as she routinely does, to make sure it was locked from the inside.

Mother and daughter then planned to exit through a side door of the historic Murrayville building at the Five Corners intersection of 216 Street and 48 Avenue.

As Symes checked the door, a young woman driving a grey Honda Civic hopped the curb and lost control in the nearby roundabout.

Symes yelled at her daughter to run and shoved her out of the way of the oncoming car.

Everything seemed to be happening in slow motion, she recalled, like one of those nightmares where you move like molasses. She expected the Civic would come through the door and she was waiting to feel the impact of the car on her back as she shoved her daughter out of the way.

“I thought I was going to die,” she said.

“I thought that there’d be a chalk mark on the floor.”

Instead, the Honda skidded into the wall beside the door.

The force of the impact covered the interior with glass and debris and sent a heavy metal antique cash register flying, knocking several pieces off.

Police and fire crews arrived to find no one had been hurt.

The young driver of the Civic called her father to come and get her, and Symes arranged to have the entrance boarded up.

Wally Martin, who lives across the street, said he heard the crunching noise of the car impact around 7 p.m. as he was getting ready for dinner.

Martin is a big fan of the roundabout, which he said has substantially reduced collisions at the five-way intersection since it was built.

But there is no speed limit sign on the roundabout to tell motorists to slow down, Martin notes.

“They should put it right on the centre island,” he said.

He has seen drivers take the tight turn “on two wheels” sometimes.

It is not the first time a driver has lost control in the roundabout, Martin added.

About two years ago, he said, a car hit the curb near Porter’s, missing the building but destroying a tire.

The driver carried on up the street on his rim, sending sparks flying, Martin recalled.

On Tuesday, Sharon Symes was talking to her husband by phone in between dealing with insurance and building repair issues, as she prepared to reopen Wednesday.

He told her their nice new car had just broken down.

Trouble, it is said, comes in threes.

“That’s our third,” she told him.

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