THE shocked owner of an takeaway in Christchurch has called for drivers to watch their speed after a car smashed through the front of her business, demolishing part of its interior.
Bricks, chairs and other debris were hurled across the customer area of The BaoBao House in Bargates when the vehicle ploughed through its main window in the early hours of last Friday morning. It was closed at the time and no injuries were reported.
Owner Salina Lui told the A&T the first thing she knew of the incident was when she drove past the takeaway around 11am that day and saw the window was boarded up. She had just returned from a short break having reopened about a month earlier following the Covid-19 lockdown.
It was about two hours later that she entered the premises and saw the true scale of devastation caused by the collision.
“It’s really awful,” Salina said. “I had just thought the window had been smashed as it was the weekend and that sort of thing does happen.
“But when I came back from Waitrose and walked into the shop, I then saw the eating bench had been split in half and the corner part of the outside wall was inside.
“One of the stools must have been thrown into the counter.”
She told how CCTV in the street had captured footage of the car as it first collided with the Age Concern charity shop, causing some damage to the corner, before “sling-shooting” into her premises.
The driver fled the scene, leaving the vehicle inside the building and had to be towed away, she said.
Although relieved no one was hurt, including residents who live above the business, Salina said she was frustrated the collision took place just weeks after she had carried out refurbishment work.
Police are investigating the incident, but a force spokesperson said on Monday no arrests had yet been made.
Salina now intends to contact BCP Council to air her concerns about the road’s safety. She said similar incidents had happened before and that drivers seemed to forget how busy it could get.
“It just makes me worry,” she continued. “The main thing is this road is really thin and there are residents on both sides.
“It’s an old main road and there are so many cars on the roads now. It’s usually used as a cut-through – people just bomb over that hill and lose control.
“If that car had hit a little further along it could have killed somebody – it could have brought the roof down.”
Despite the crash, the takeaway is still running, but no customers are allowed inside while until the damage has been cleared and repairs made.
In the meantime, orders are being taken over the phone and can be collected from outside the premises.
Salina, who lives in Boscombe and has run business for nearly two years, praised her regular customers for their support.
Responding to a post about the collision on The BaoBao House Facebook page, one person wrote: “Blimey. I had just seen your previous post and was so pleased you were back. Now this!
“Hopefully nobody hurt and pleased you can still carry on. Will be ordering soon.”
A Dorset Police spokesperson said: “We were called at 2.20am on Friday 31st July 2020 to reports that a vehicle had gone into the shop window of BaoBao Chinese restaurant on Bargates in Christchurch and had failed to stop at the scene.
“An investigation into the incident is under way. No arrests have been made.”
Those with information should contact officers on 101, quoting crime reference number 55200112583, or call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.