Uptown Walmart closed Saturday after car crashed into store; rest of complex open

A dramatic crash at Uptown shopping centre on Friday, which sent a vehicle through a parkade wall, trapping three Walmart employees inside a cooler in the store’s deli, resulted in the store closing its doors to shoppers Saturday.

The affected area of the parkade was cordoned off Saturday, and the remainder of the parkade remained open. “We can confirm that no structural damage was done to the building,” said Kristy Lowes, general manager of Uptown, said in a statement to the Times Colonist.

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Saanich Deputy Fire Chief Dan Wood told the Times Colonist on Friday the impact had caused structural damage to the building. Crews worked to stabilize parts of the ceiling in the parkade after the vehicle went through a thin concrete wall on the upper level of the parkade. The vehicle fell through the ceiling into an area of the Walmart deli below.

The driver and Walmart employees involved in the incident were treated on scene, Lowes said.

Lowes praised the Saanich fire, police and ambulance departments for their efforts. Walmart has not yet announced a re-opening date, she said. “The rest of Uptown’s tenants remain open under normal operating hours of 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.”

The car was removed on Friday night, according to Totem Towing. Officers are investigating the cause of the crash, Saanich police Const. Markus Anastasiades said in a statement. “While we are not commenting on the age or gender of the driver involved in this incident [Friday], what I can confirm to everyone is that the driver was not an ‘elderly woman’ as mentioned in some of the online content this morning.”

Felicia Fefer, corporate affairs manager for Walmart Canada, said in a statement that the safety of staff and customers is a top priority. “Our focus right now is on our associates and gathering more information. We will continue working closely with local police and emergency responders.”

“The store is currently closed as we carry out necessary clean-up and repairs and will reopen once this has been completed,” she said.

mdevlin@timescolonist.com

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