By SHERRI KOLADE
DEARBORN — After a sport utility vehicle crashed into Green Brain Comics, 13210 Michigan Ave., leaving a “Trailblazer-sized hole” in the side of the store on Feb. 17, store co-owner Dan Merritt chose to see things in a positive light.
“The hidden bonus is that we might get a little bit of retail space out of it,” Merritt said.
About 6 a.m. Feb. 17, the vehicle, heading west on Michigan Avenue, crashed about 4 feet into the store, Merritt said.
“From what we can tell, (the driver) went off of the road in front of Pizza Hut, swerved (around) a bunch of obstacles, ran over a fire hydrant, and proceeded to go head-on into the side of the building,” he said.
The crash cost the store about $25,000 in damages, Merritt said.
At the time of the crash, the store was closed and no one was hurt, Merritt said.
“I’m very glad that nobody that we know of was hurt,” he said.
The store re-opened Feb. 20.
A Dearborn Police officer, who asked not to be identified, said the driver, a 32-year-old man, was arrested for drunk driving after the crash and taken to the Wayne County Jail.
Wayne County Jail officials did not return calls by press time.
The police officer, who did not release the city the driver lives in, said the man was not admitted to the hospital.
The officer said the driver’s blood alcohol content level was tested and his blood test results may take a few weeks. The officer said he is unaware of any fines the driver may have to pay.
A Dearborn Police Department Traffic Safety Bureau representative said the police report was not available as of Feb. 22. Bureau officials did not return calls by press time.
Merritt said the vehicle took out the store’s plumbing.
“It is kind of funny how deceiving it looks,” Merritt said of the damages the building sustained. “It took out our restroom. There was extensive water damage. (The vehicle) took out a big chunk of our comics and graphic novels.”
Merritt said books damaged in the crash have been replaced and repair and renovation will start soon.
“We are confident that all work will be finished well in advance of Free Comic Book Day on Saturday, May 4th,” he said.
Merritt said the city inspector reviewed the building on Feb. 19 and told him the damage is “contained” and the building is structurally sound.
Although the store is open, the crash area is cordoned off and won’t be accessible until repaired, Merritt said.
“We may not reconstruct the restroom,” Merritt said. “We have another restroom on this (first) floor. Our hopes are that we can expand.”
On the comic store’s website, big bold red words reiterate Merritt’s enthusiasm to re-open: “A high speed impact with an SUV can’t keep us down!! We are now re-open for business!!”
Merritt said he wanted to assure customers that the store is safe to shop in.
“It was a crazy fluke that this happened,” he said. “There is only one way for a vehicle to get at that angle and hit our store at the type of speed needed to break through a 10-inch wall. We really kind of reckon this to a lightning bolt. Yeah, it is not going to strike again.”
Merritt said he is thankful for community-wide support.
“It has been a seesaw of emotions,” he said. “It is very disturbing to see your store covered in water, but we’ve gotten so much reinforcement from our friends, family and customers. It has been keeping us up (and) keeping our eyes on the target of being back in business as soon as possible.”
(Sherri Kolade can be reached at [email protected].)