Clearwater man sidesteps second near miss by car

CLEARWATER — Death came looking for David Vinson in the form of a 3,300-pound blue Mercury.

And for the second time in his life, Vinson stepped out of its path just in time.

On Monday, he narrowly avoided being crushed when the out-of-control car slammed through the front windows and into his desk at Yellow Jacket Locksmith on Missouri Avenue.

"If I hadn't stood up, I probably would have been under the car," Vinson said. "The car would have gotten me for sure."

About 35 years ago, Vinson dodged an eerily similar situation when a driver fleeing police plowed into a Ford van he was working on outside of his home. A ringing phone had drawn him away from the task moments before impact.

"It's the second time somebody inadvertently got my attention and I changed my position just in time," he said.

The Monday afternoon accident happened when a woman who may have been suffering a medical problem lost control of her car, which was westbound on Lakeview Road, said Clearwater public safety spokeswoman Beth Watts.

The woman hit one vehicle, continued into the intersection at Missouri and hit another before running into the front windows of the locksmith business, Watts said. Clearwater firefighters extricated the woman from her vehicle.

She and her passenger were hospitalized with injuries that did not appear to be life-threatening.

The drivers of the two other vehicles involved in the accident also were taken to local hospitals with injuries that weren't life-threatening.

None of the four injured people has been identified.

The accident, which happened about 1:30 p.m., closed all southbound lanes of Missouri Avenue for more than an hour.

The woman's vehicle was removed and a Clearwater Fire Rescue technical rescue team was called in to stabilize the building.

Vinson, a 63-year-old locksmith, said he had just gotten up to greet a customer who needed some copies of her house key before the car barrelled into the business.

"This lady and her husband are certainly going to have dinner on us," he said.

Vinson brushed aside notions of luck, but did glean a message from his second near-miss.

"It just is not quite my time."

Rita Farlow can be reached at farlow@sptimes.com or (727) 445-4157.

A Clearwater Fire Rescue technical rescue team work to stabilize the front of a locksmith shop after a car crashed into it Monday.

JIM DAMASKE | Times

A Clearwater Fire Rescue technical rescue team work to stabilize the front of a locksmith shop after a car crashed into it Monday.

To see video from the crash, visit video.tampabay.com

Clearwater man sidesteps second near miss by car 01/11/10 [Last modified: Monday, January 11, 2010 11:46pm]

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