Cars crash into Rock Hill store on successive Saturdays

jmcfadden@heraldonline.comMay 21, 2013 

For the second weekend in a row, a car crashed into Jimmy Long’s Rock Hill liquor store. This time, police say, the driver fled only to be arrested more than a hour later.

At about 1:20 p.m. Saturday, Long, who’s owned the ABC store on Albright Road for eight years, was serving customers when Antwoine Stevenson, 36, of Catawba, walked into the store, he said on Tuesday.

Minutes later, Stevenson’s black car, parked in front of the business, crashed into the front door, knocking parts of the door frame out of position and tearing off one part of the door frame, Long said.

When Long asked Stevenson if he had insurance to pay for the damages, Stevenson said no, according to a Rock Hill Police report.

Long said he called police and began taking pictures, some of them blurry because his hands were shaking. Using his cell phone, Long snapped a picture of Stevenson standing outside behind his car, concealing the license plate.

Meanwhile, a passerby arrived at the store and helped Stevenson get the car out of the door, Long said. Long took another photo, this one showing a young girl opening the car door and looking outside.

As Long continued taking photos, he said Stevenson yelled at the girl to “get in the car, get in the car, hurry, hurry.” Stevenson jumped in the car and began backing it out of the parking lot, according to the report.

When police arrived, Long was able to show authorities a picture he had taken of Stevenson. A police officer remembered seeing Long earlier in the day and was able to give fellow officers a clothing description, the report states.

About 80 minutes later, police found Stevenson at a house at the corner of Walnut Street and South Jones Avenue. He had changed shirts, the report states, but still had on the same khaki shorts he wore at the Albright ABC.

Police arrested Stevenson, citing him for leaving the scene of an accident, the report states. He was later released on a $237.50 bond. Efforts to reach him by phone were unsuccessful Tuesday.

“He was lucky the glass didn’t break,” said Long, who added that he estimates repairs might cost the building’s owner at least $100.

But glass did break in Long’s store two weeks ago when a man driving a black Tahoe backed out of the adjacent Sledgehammer Saloon and into the convenience store attached to the ABC store, knocking the cinderblock wall at least two feet, exposing the insulation and showering glass and debris on the store’s interior.

Two days later, police discovered that the truck that crashed into the store belonged to Rock Hill’s Lender Ray Allen, 63. They found the car parked at the apartment complex where Allen lived, and saw that its rear bumper and light were damaged, according to Rock Hill Police documents.

Allen told officers he did not drive his car that night, but instead loaned it to a friend, a report states. He said his friend wasn’t a member of the Sledgehammer. Entrance into the club requires a patron to either be a member or be accompanied by one, police say.

Police spoke with the bartender who worked that night. According to the report, she told police Allen had been in the club the night of the incident, but she wasn’t aware of a friend being with him.

Police cited Allen for leaving the scene of an accident. He could not be reached on Tuesday.

“Saturday’s not a good day,” Long said.

In the eight years he’s owned the store, Long said cars have never crashed into it. In the first year the business opened, Long said burglars took advantage of an inoperative alarm system and kicked open a back window and stole his entire inventory from the attached convenience store, which sells wine, food, beer and snacks.

To curb theft, Long had cameras and a burglary alarm system installed.

When thieves began throwing rocks through the business windows – causing the alarms to go off – Long said he put a net over the window.

Now, to stop cars from running into his business, he’s having metal poles reinforced with concrete foundation installed five feet apart in front of the store.

“Hopefully,” he said, “everything will be safe and sound.”

Jonathan McFadden •  803-329-4082

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