Fine Ahiwe was walking to work at the Chelten Avenue newsstand he owns just before 8 a.m. today when he noticed the police-car lights. Then, he saw the busted-up pick-up truck and the newsstand he’s owned since 1994 looking like it been thrown into an industrial-strength blender.
Had he been inside when the Nissan Titan pick-up jumped the curb, leveled the traffic-light post at Knox Street and tore through the Germantown newsstand before coming to a stop at the Best Thrift Store metal grate, the 52-year-old man could have been seriously injured. Since he wasn’t there already, he just has to worry about whether the driver’s insurance will cover the extensive damage.
“I feel sad, what else can I say?” a resigned Ahiwe said about two hours after the collision. “It’s all I do for a job. I’m lucky I wasn’t inside.”
Ahiwe started by selling clothes next to that newsstand in the early nineties, but bought the whole operation — lottery ticket sales and all — 17 years ago for about $20,000. Now, one side of the building was uprooted from the sidewalk with a shattered traffic light sitting on the ground not too far from charred lottery tickets. One passerby noted, “Somebody had a really big ‘oopsy'” as he stepped over a puddle of automotive fluid near the curb.
He said he’s been told to get an attorney to see whether the driver, who also emerged uninjured, had the necessary insurance to cover rebuilding, which Ahiwe said he intends to do.
At the scene around 9:45 a.m., Officer John Donaghy said the unnamed 66-year-old driver would not face any charges. No witnesses reported seeing what happened, and the driver maintained that he’d gotten a leg cramp, which made him hit the gas and jump the curb at the intersection.