The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

October 11, 2012

No charges filed in Dollar Tree crash

Patrick Buchnowski

— No charges will be filed against the woman who smashed her SUV into the Dollar Tree in Richland Township last month, authorities said.

The Sept. 6 crash, that injured five shoppers at Richland Town Centre, has been ruled accidental.

Police said Elfriede Thomas, 78, of Johnstown, was driving a GMC Envoy when she pulled into a parking space and got hung up on a curb.

She tried to back off the curb and “mistook the gas for the brake,” Richland police Officer Richard Pollino said.

The SUV crashed through the front doors of the store in reverse, sending customers fleeing. It came to a stop about 15 feet inside the building, trapping one beneath the vehicle. Linda Alarid, 62, of Portage, was taken to Memorial Medical Center where she remains in fair condition, a hospital spokesman said.  

The other injuries were believed to be minor.

 Emergency personnel arrived within minutes.

The store has since reopened.

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