Van crashes into secondhand store, now needy families could fall into holiday hardship

BURIEN, Wash. – An organization used to fulfilling other people's need now needs help itself.

On Monday a van careened into the St. Vincent de Paul store in Burien, severely injuring one employee and causing tens of thousands of dollars in damage to the building. But the cost to the community could mean some families struggling to pay their bills may not be able to avoid eviction.

“Really scary thinking about what could have happened,” said store manager Carrie Padilla.

Padilla is still rattled after one of her customers accidentally drove their car straight into her store. The crash destroyed the garage door and damaged the foundation to the tune of tens of thousands of dollars - which means this location will be closed for weeks.

“We’re a small organization, we’re at five stores,” said St. Vincent de Paul Seattle/King County executive director Ned Delmore. “When one of them goes down it effects the entire community we serve.”

Surveillance cameras caught the moment when the customer slammed their van through the garage door and into the store. Not only did the van narrowly miss Padilla, her unborn baby also escaped injury.

“They took my blood pressure,” said Padilla. “I’m due in two weeks.”

Unfortunately, another employee was injured in the crash and she is still at the hospital recovering.

“She has an amazing spirit about her,” said Delmore. “Her legs are broken and her arm is broken.”

St. Vincent de Paul is more than just a secondhand store. The organization also does outreach in communities helping families avoid eviction and other issues.

But ever since the crash at the store, St. Vincent de Paul worries the monetary impact will impede their ability to help keep other families in their own home this holiday season.

“This little store here is part of the engine that really fuels our mission and it’s key to what we do,” said Delmore.

Employees who are now out of work are hoping to pick up shifts at one of St. Vincent de Paul’s four other Puget Sound locations.

And now a non-profit which has spent decades helping others finds itself asking for help to keep struggling families from becoming homeless.

“Maybe help us out at St. Vincent de Paul to get this store open quicker and to be able to help some of these folks who need rental income and the lights kept on,” said Delmore.