A Ford pickup truck crashed into a small row of storefronts Monday on Courthouse Drive on the Oxford Square. The crash was reported just after 5:30 a.m.
According to the Oxford Fire Department, the man driving the truck suffered a medical episode, believed to be a seizure, and drove through the flower beds and smashed into the buildings. He was taken to the local Baptist hospital to treat minor injuries.
JCG Apparel received the bulk of the damages caused by the accident. Next door, Ajax Diner’s storefront also took some of the hit. However, the structural construction repairs did not affect Oxford Grillehouse due to its weekly Monday closing.
OFD was on the scene fixing structural damages to the “hot zone” by Monday afternoon. Joey Gardner, deputy chief of operations for OFD, observed as the team assessed the destruction.
“My role is just standing back, watching, making sure everything is done safely and that none of our people get injured,” Gardner said. “The guys are doing some structural work on these buildings, making sure we don’t get any more damage than we have right now.”
Ajax Diner was closed Monday due to its proximity to the accident and the loss of a structural column in the front of the building, but it is expected to reopen by Tuesday.
“Hopefully we can be open tomorrow,” Ajax Diner owner Randy Yates said. “I’m just glad this didn’t happen later in the day when the Square is crowded.”
JCG Apparel owners Mary Katherine and Lewis Herrington said they are unsure on when their store will be able to reopen.
“It’s really too early to tell about any of it,” Lewis said. “The engineers are trying to determine whether or not the wall is going to collapse and if it needs to be replaced. The brick column the driver hit buckled and has a lot of weight on it, so they are trying to be as safe as possible.”
Mary Katherine was on the way out of town when she received the news about the damages to her storefront.
“Oxford Police called me early this morning to tell me about the accident, but I was already headed to Colorado for vacation,” Mary Katherine said.
Lewis said JCG Apparel will be out of commission for the time being.
“Insurance will cover the repairs,” Lewis said. “Obviously, if the store is closed, there will be zero sales.”
Oxford Police Department Officer Ryan Winters said the situation is still being “actively investigated,” though not much could be disclosed as of Monday afternoon.
“Police report is in the process of being completed,” Winters said. “They are finalizing it trying to figure out what went on, talk to people about what happened.”
This article was submitted to The Daily Mississippian from an advanced reporting class.