Signy Cohen was in good spirits as the sun shone through her Reflecting Spirit art gallery on Monday morning, despite standing in front of her smashed storefront window that a vehicle crashed through after rolling across Davison Plaza’s parking lot on Saturday night. (Photo - Andrew Bailey)

SUV crashes through art gallery in Ucluelet

“It looks like the vehicle, which was a standard, had either popped out of gear or not been in gear.”

A parked vehicle rolled through the front window of a Ucluelet art gallery on Saturday night.

Signy Cohen was working at a cafe across from her Reflecting Spirit Gallery when a driverless sport utility vehicle rolled down the sloped parking lot of Davison Plaza and crashed through her gallery’s storefront around 7 p.m.

Const. Marcel Midlane of the Ucluelet RCMP said the vehicle’s owner was at the scene when police arrived and advised they had parked their vehicle to shop at the plaza.

“It looks like the vehicle, which was a standard, had either popped out of gear or not been in gear and rolled across the parking lot and, because it’s a sloped lot, rolled into the front of the building, which caused the glass to shatter,” Midlane said. “Obviously, we encourage people to use your emergency brakes and make sure your vehicle’s in park, especially if you’re driving a standard.”

He said no injuries were reported in the incident and an investigation is ongoing.

“There was no drugs or alcohol involved,” he said. “It’s assumed to be an accident at this point and is being investigated as such.”

The gallery was open, with the broken window boarded up, on Monday morning and Cohen told the Westerly News that she was amazed by the community’s rapid response to the incident as locals quickly assembled to protect her art from Saturday night’s blustery weather.

“I was so amazed that the community stepped in really fast,” she said. “My heart goes out to the community and a great big, ‘Thank you’ for their preparedness to step in and come to the rescue and help in a situation like this.”

She said by the time she heard about the incident, a local carpenter was already putting plywood over the window and several people came to help her clean up the “mountain of glass” outside her store.

She said Sunday was spent cleaning the inside of the gallery and she feels fortunate that the damage to her artwork was minimal.

“There was damage to some art pieces, but very little. We were lucky,” she said. “And, there was a miracle in this whole thing. There was a 3’ by 2’ beveled stained glass window sitting right at the impact area and it did not break. It was just sitting in the window sill, on an angle, totally in tact…So that was pretty amazing.”

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