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Jewelry store owners look to recover, reopen after truck crashes through Center Township building

Crews worked on repairing damage to the Golden Dreams Jewelers building after a pickup truck crashed through its roof Monday night, May 20. Molly Miller/Butler Eagle

CENTER TWP — Shirley Chilcott said she and her husband Don stayed up all night after a pickup truck crashed through the roof of their business Monday, May 20.

“We spent the night here because what else can you do?” Chilcott said Tuesday. “I think I got a few hours (of sleep) on the couch, but my husband didn’t sleep at all.”

After 47 years in business, the owners of Golden Dreams Jewelers at 1615 N. Main St. Extension were working hard Tuesday morning to assess the damage and make a plan to reopen Saturday.

Chilcott said they found out about the crash when their alarm company called to inform them something tripped all the alarms.

“People started calling us,” she said. “We came up here and friends started showing up.”

The crash occurred around 8:48 p.m. Monday and resulted in the driver being extricated and flown to a Pittsburgh hospital by medical helicopter, according to Mike Pflugh, chief of Unionville Volunteer Fire Company.

Pflugh said the driver was traveling south on Sunset Drive, which is directly behind the Chilcotts’ store, and went off the road and into the building.

“I think he rolled over, skidded across a mini wall back there, hit Window World’s shed and went through the roof (of the jewelry store),” he said Tuesday.

The truck, a gray Toyota Tacoma, landed on its roof in the left side of the store.

“It broke off a 2-inch gas line; we had to get the gas shut off,” Pflugh said.

Chilcott said the building had no power or water due to the crash.

Crews were able to extricate the driver by walking through the hole the truck created in the building, Pflugh said.

“I’d say we had him out of the car in 15 minutes. It was pretty quick,” he said. “He was coherent.”

Pflugh said a landing zone for the medical helicopter was established at the Clearview Mall and the driver was flown to Allegheny General Hospital in Pittsburgh.

Walking into Golden Dreams Jewelers, sun shined through the hole in the left side of the building and onto broken glass and drywall. According to Chilcott, the truck took out their bathrooms, break room, and part of the show room.

Some merchandise became part of the rubble, Chilcott said, but she pointed out one shelf of drinkware that remained unscathed, despite the chaos around it.

“Somehow our steins are intact,” she said. “Isn’t that crazy?”

Golden Dreams Jewelers has operated on North Main Street Extension since 1998, after moving from the old Butler Mall. After 47 years in business, Chilcott said she and her husband had been looking to move on.

“We tried to retire, but after you’ve had customers so long, our cellphones kept ringing. We agreed to stay open on Saturdays,” she said.

Currently, the Chilcotts focus on buying and selling precious metals, but were only planning to do so until another business rented the space.

Chilcott said they will move to the building they own next door and hopefully open up again at 10 a.m. Saturday. Once the damage from the crash is fixed, they plan to continue trying to rent it out and transition into retirement.

“Since (the building) is not rented out, we have to pay taxes and bills on it,” she said.

A friend of the Chilcotts who is a contractor already had crews working on the damage to protect the inside from any averse weather.

Chilcott said she is grateful to the first responders and everyone who came to their aid Monday night. She also expressed concern about the driver who was injured in the crash.

“I’m just so grateful no one was in the bathroom, because they wouldn’t have survived,” she said.

She added that she is also grateful to those who have reached out.

“My phone’s been going off all day from customers, friends,” she said. “The community’s been wonderful.”

After the crash, emergency crews remained on scene until 11:57 p.m. Monday to assist as the vehicle was towed from the building using a lull, or a forklift-style tractor, Pflugh said.

State police, Butler Township Volunteer Fire District, Oneida Valley Volunteer Fire Department and Butler Ambulance Service all responded to the scene.

Some steins remain intact after a pickup truck crashed through the roof of Golden Dreams Jewelers on Monday night, May 20. Molly Miller/Butler Eagle
Crews worked on repairing damage to the Golden Dreams Jewelers building after a pickup truck crashed through its roof Monday night, May 20. Molly Miller/Butler Eagle
A pickup truck crashed through the roof of the Golden Dreams Jewelers building in Center Township on Monday night, according to officials. Submitted photo
A pickup truck crashed through the roof of the Golden Dreams Jewelers building in Center Township on Monday night, according to officials. Submitted photo

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