An elderly driver lost consciousness and slammed into the front wall of Office Depot on Wednesday morning, causing damage to the structure and forcing inspectors to close the business down.
Deputy Wayne Gray said driver Kenneth Norris, 74, and his wife, Barbara, 71, were both transported to the hospital by ambulance following the 11:48 a.m. accident at Carson Street and Fairview Drive.
Witness Danielle Haas, of Carson City, said she had just left the office supply store and was beginning to back her car out of a parking space when Norris' Toyota Sienna sped past behind her.
"I looked, and he was just slumped," said Haas.
The Toyota hit the building at about 45 mph, with enough force to sheer off at its base a 4-foot-tall concrete pillar. The pillar and the nose of the Toyota then crashed through the wall left of the doors, both ending up behind the customer service desk.
Gray said the Toyota also narrowly missed a store employee who was about to walk into the store at the time of the crash.
Carson City Building Inspector Vann Clegg said the hole left by the vehicle cut through concrete and half-inch rebar and that the front of the building would have to be "shored up" temporarily and permanently repaired before the business could reopen. He said that if the pillar hadn't been in the truck's path, the vehicle would have gone all the way through the wall.
Gray said the driver had apparently taken a pain pill right before he lost consciousness.
"This is a medical issue that turned into an accident," the deputy said.
Contact reporter F.T. Norton at email@example.com or 881-1213.