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Accident can't take joy from toy store

December 20, 2003

Deepa Bharath

A 30-year-old Costa Mesa woman who ran a red light on Friday morning

and got broadsided by another car escaped injuries after her pickup

truck hurtled backward, felled a palm tree and then barreled through

a toy store window, officials said.

Maria Carmen Sanchez was driving eastbound on Coast Highway toward

Laguna Beach at about 6:05 a.m. when she went through a red light at

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the intersection of Marguerite Avenue, Newport Beach Police Sgt.

Steve Shulman said.

She was in turn hit by 28-year-old Newport Beach resident

Stephanie Gayle Roberts who was driving her Honda Civic northbound on

Marguerite, he said.

"The impact of the crash spun the pickup truck backward," Shulman

said. "The vehicle then went up the curb, knocked down a palm tree

and went into the store."

Neither of the two women was injured, although both cars were

damaged, he said. No drugs or alcohol were involved, and Sanchez got

a citation for running the red light, Shulman said.

Gary Naumann, owner of Toy Boat Toy Boat Toy Boat, said his store

lost a few toys and a big window. On Friday afternoon, workers were

boarding up the window.

The timing couldn't have been worse, the toy store owner said.

"It's barely a week before Christmas," he said. "But fortunately,

we're going to be able to board up the window, paint it white and put

something on it so people know we're open for business."

The store was able to open right on time on Friday, Naumann said.

"I got the call at about 6:30 a.m. from a neighbor here," he said.

"It's not a call you want to get. But we were able to get some people

here in the morning, shoveled the glass, vacuumed the debris and

opened our doors to customers."

The crash caused some serious damage, Naumann said.

"It wasn't just the glass that broke," he said. "We also lost the

frame and everything on that side."

This is the third time the store, which opened in 1995, has been

hit, Naumann said.

"The first time, it happened three days after we opened this

store," he said. "Someone rear-ended a car and it went through our

window."

The second accident occurred when the city was cutting down ficus

trees in the area, Naumann said.

"A big chunk of a tree hit our window and broke it," he said. "But

the good thing is, no one got hurt. And we managed to stay open for

the holidays."

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