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Crash aftermath: Owners of damaged Hallmark store hope to open today

By Staff | Feb 11, 2012

As of Friday at noon, they had no phones or computers to sell merchandise, including those lines that run the register.

Yet local Hallmark store owner Janele Krebs, through high emotion, was optimistic that with the help of family, employees, friends and contractors that the store will be back open for business today, Feb. 11, just in time for the second biggest business-generating holiday of the year – Valentine’s Day.

According to Lee County Sheriff reports, the Thursday car crash into the Hallmark Store in the Merchants Crossing Shopping Center sent three to the hospital.

On Feb. 9, at 12:46 p.m., the Lee County Sheriff’s Office responded to the center in North Fort Myers to investigate a report that a vehicle had crashed into the building.

Arriving deputies discovered a vehicle had crashed through the front window of the Hallmark Store and had traveled through the store and a wall adjoining a former hair salon before coming to a stop.

The investigation revealed George Yurcevich, 68, of Greensburg, Pa., was driving his 2008 Ford Mustang north on the roadway in front of the Hallmark. His wife, Kathleen Yurcevich, 68, was a passenger.

The driver suffered a medical event which caused him to crash into the building, according to the LCSO.

Two women in the store were injured.

Nancy Mason of North Fort Myers, a clerk in the store, she suffered a large laceration to her head and possible back injuries.

Marie Contrastano of North Fort Myers, a customer, suffered a laceration to her hand.

The driver was transported to Lee Memorial Hospital for evaluation.

Both women were transported to Lee Memorial Hospital to be treated for their injuries, which were described as non life-threatening.

The passenger was not injured, said Sheriff Department spokespersons.

Responsibility for damages will have to be sorted out as yet, but for now, the priority is getting the store up and going to be able to sell for Valentine’s Day – the business’ second biggest sales event of the year after the Christmas holidays.

“Honestly, I still don’t know what happened,” said Krebs. “There was a loud noise and a lot of debris. I was knocked to the ground and when I got up there was dust everywhere.

“We’re just trying to stick together and get back open.”

Members of the community have expressed their support in hope that this will not devastate the local business, and they hope many will still shop at the store for the holiday.

The store is at Merchants Crossing, 15201 N. Cleveland Ave. in North Fort Myers. The phone number is 995-7171.