Driver asleep at the wheel plows into Chandler businesses

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The aftermath of an accident that damaged two businesses in Chandler. (17 April 2017) [Source: 3TV/CBS5] The aftermath of an accident that damaged two businesses in Chandler. (17 April 2017) [Source: 3TV/CBS5]
The car that crashed into two businesses in Chandler Saturday.  (17 April 2017) [Source: 3TV/CBS5] The car that crashed into two businesses in Chandler Saturday. (17 April 2017) [Source: 3TV/CBS5]
CHANDLER, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -

A driver who fell asleep at the wheel Saturday morning plowed into two Chandler businesses causing extensive damages.

It happened early Saturday morning near Arizona Avenue and Chandler Blvd. in Chandler.

Police say the driver of a white sedan fell asleep, causing him to swerve into oncoming traffic, hitting another car.

The white sedan hopped the curb and crashed through the sign in front of the Psychic Madam Lucy shop.

“I was like oh my god, what was that,” said Sabrina Adams, who was asleep inside.

The shop is now dealing with thousands of dollars in damages, affecting walk-in customer business.

“I look up and I’m like oh my god the sphinx is broke, the statues and chains are broken,” said Adams.

The speed of the sedan caused it to continue along the curb into Elmer’s Taco Shop next door. It eventually stopped after crashing through benches, a trash can and concrete wall. The driver told witnesses he blacked out and doesn’t remember the accident.

“It’s definitely a wakeup call we were very fortunate that it wasn’t worse,” said Lisa Cuen-Rodriguez, owner.

[RELATED: Jaime's Local Love: Elmer's Tacos]

With exposed rebar and other safety risks, Cuen-Rodriguez posted about the incident on a community Facebook group called “Living Chandler,” which has more than 33,000 members.

“I didn’t want anyone else to get hurt. Living Chandler is such a community that people jump at the chance to help,” she said.

Rick Perini, a retired veteran, was among those who saw the post and wanted to help.

“We just need to be good neighbors. Small businesses help make this world run and you’ve just got to help people whatever I’ve done in my life to stop and help somebody has come back to me tenfold,” said Perini.

Perini brought his own tools to get rid of the exposed rebar and help clear debris. He was thrilled when Elmer’s gave him a hearty reward.

“The best breakfast burrito I’ve ever had,” said Perini.

“It’s very unfortunate he was lucky it was in the middle of the night and there was no one on the road except for the first car that he hit,” said Cuen-Rodriguez.

With the outpouring of support, Cuen-Rodriguez looks at what could have been a devastating incident with a silver lining.

“There's always something positive with the negative, you don’t always see it right away but it is,” she said.

Chandler police say the driver wasn’t hurt. He was issued two traffic citations for the incident, including failure to control the speed of his car and for driving on the wrong side of the road.

Copyright 2017 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

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