Video Report - Motorist crashes through front doors of Mount Carmel store

Jeff Bobo • Nov 7, 2008 at 12:00 AM

People inside the SKIPEZ Market in Mount Carmel scatter as a vehicle crashes through the front doors Friday night.


MOUNT CARMEL — The SKIPEZ Market in Mount Carmel does a brisk business selling fried chicken and burgers, but it wasn’t planning on installing a drive-through window any time soon.

Someone should have mentioned that to the Kingsport woman who allegedly drove an Isuzu Trooper SUV through the glass front doors Friday night.

The day manager, Rajesh Bhansar, was standing right in front of the doors when the accident occurred. He suffered minor injuries and was transported to Holston Valley Medical Center for treatment.

A customer who was at the cash register when the accident occurred also suffered minor injuries but refused treatment.

The driver, Rachel Clonce, 37, 1432 Melvin St., Kingsport, had purchased cigarettes at the store moments before the accident. She fled the scene after the accident.

Police obtained a license plate number from witnesses and had identified Clonce, but she called police about an hour after the accident and turned herself in.

The incident occurred about 8:30 p.m. Friday at the market, located at the intersection of Main Street and Hammond Avenue. Clonce had parked the Isuzu Trooper directly facing the glass doors at the store entrance.

Video surveillance shows her paying for her cigarettes, leaving the store, and getting into the driver’s seat of the SUV.

The vehicle then backs up and strikes a guardrail protecting a gas pump. The vehicle sits still for a moment and then pulls forward, apparently at full speed, through the glass door entrance.

Night manager Andy Patel was working the cash register when the accident occurred. He alerted Bhansar that the Isuzu had struck the fuel pump guard, and Bhansar turned in time to see the Isuzu approaching.

Clonce was charged with DUI, violation of the Implied Consent Law, and leaving the scene of an accident with injury.

Arresting officer Lt. Kevin Ewing with the Mount Carmel Police Department said Clonce indicated she’d been drinking beer all day. Clonce reportedly told the officer she panicked and fled the scene after the accident but realized later she’d “messed up” and called police to come get her.

Ewing said late Friday he hadn’t had time to question Clonce about how the accident occurred.

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