A vehicle crashed into Roopers on Sabattus Street in Lewiston on Sunday night. (WGME)

Carpenters work Monday to fix the damage caused Sunday evening when an SUV smashed through the wall at Roopers on Sabattus Street in Lewiston.

LEWISTON — A vehicle crashed through a Lewiston convenience store Sunday night after the driver lost control, according to police.

On Monday, Lt. David St. Pierre said the accident was reported at 7:21 p.m. at Roopers on Sabattus Street.

He said the driver of the car lost control while trying to get out of the way of an ambulance that was traveling to a call. After losing control, the car ended up crashing through an outer wall of the building, landing inside the store.

The driver was identified as Aldair Fernando Mendes, 24, of San Antonio. He was driving a green 2000 Ford Explorer, registered in Maine.

St. Pierre said there was major structural damage to the building, but the investigating officer had not yet detailed the cost of that damage. A code enforcement official was called the scene to evaluate the integrity of the building and the store was closed for the night.

David Hediger, director of planning and code enforcement, said Monday that Roopers is open — both the store and redemption center.  Structural damage is not life threatening and the owners are applying for the necessary permits to make the improvements.

A passenger in the car had to be treated for minor injuries at the scene, according to Lewiston Police, but was not transported to a hospital. No one inside the store was injured.

Marshall Gross, one of the carpenters working Monday to repair the damage, said if the vehicle had struck the building a couple of feet farther to the right, it likely would  have taken out the electrical panel for the store and the natural gas line, which could have caused greater damage to the building.

“We’re extremely lucky,” he said. “It could have been a lot worse.”

Also fortunate, the redemption center had closed and no one was in that area because the SUV smashed two of the redemption stations, Gross said.

Said Gross, “A miracle, I’d say.”

WGME contributed to this report.


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