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Car smashes into Inverness store

Eleanor Miller had something on her mind Tuesday morning.

"You know, when I have something on my mind, it gets on my nerves," she said.

The 84-year-old Crystal River resident thought that if she went out with her neighbor, she'd feel better. They planned to go shopping and have lunch at B & W Rexall Drugs near downtown Inverness.

They did. And now Miller has something else to worry about.

Between 10:30 and 11 a.m., while parking her car, Miller accidentally drove completely into First American Cash Advance, a store near B & W.

No one was seriously injured, but the storefront was destroyed. Miller's car, a gray, 1988 four-door Oldsmobile, came to rest in the store's waiting area.

Inverness police gave her an $87 ticket for careless driving.

Miller had been trying to park but didn't stop. She drove over the concrete parking stop and the sidewalk and through the store, according to her neighbor and passenger, Brenda DeMelio.

"It just went . . . right in," DeMelio said.

"I didn't mean to do it," Miller said.

". . . I thought I was putting my foot on the brakes, but I wasn't."

Paralee Woods, a customer service representative, was sitting behind her L-shaped desk inside First American helping a customer, Nydia Principe of Inverness, when the accident happened.

Woods heard some noise and some tires screeching, but she didn't look up. Cars screech all the time as they drive up the hill into Citrus Plaza, which is on Main Street between downtown Inverness and State Road 44 E.

"I never paid attention, never looked up. And when I did look up, the car was right beside me," Woods said.

"It happened so fast," Woods recalled. She heard DeMelio yelling at Miller, asking her what she had done. And Woods remembers thinking, "Oh my God, you're in my store!"

Woods suffered a minor cut and bruises to her elbow, injuries she got when she rolled back in her chair and hit the wall behind her. Principe, the customer, said she was not touched.

After the accident, Miller and DeMelio tried to relax in the restaurant inside B & W. Asked how she was feeling after what had happened, Miller turned to DeMelio: "Did anyone get killed? Did anyone get hurt?"

"No," DeMelio answered.

"Okay then," Miller said. "I'm a little bit nervous, but I'm getting over it."

_ Suzannah Gonzales can be reached at or 860-7300.