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SUV crashes into south Grand Forks Wal-Mart

A path of destruction is seen in Wal-Mart in south Grand Forks after a Mazda Tribute crashed through a door Friday afternoon. photo by Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald1 / 2
Firefighters investigate a crash in which an SUV drove into the South Grand Forks Wal-Mart on Friday. (Andrew Hazzard/Grand Forks Herald) 2 / 2

A driver crashed an SUV into the 32nd Avenue Wal-Mart in Grand Forks Friday afternoon, damaging the paint section of the store before stopping about 30 feet inside the building.

One customer was taken to Altru Hospital for injuries from flying debris, but it is unclear how badly the person was injured, according to Grand Forks Police. The store was evacuated, and police and fire crews were called to the crash scene to investigate.

Ahmed Digale, 27, was driving in the parking lot about 2:30 p.m. and attempted to stop on the west side of the store, but the vehicle instead continued moving and crashed through the store’s fire doors, according to a police statement. The SUV came to a stop after hitting merchandise displays.

Preliminary investigation found a mechanical failure caused the accident, police said.

The driver is cooperating with the police, Sgt. Jay Middleton said. The investigation was open Friday evening with potential charges pending.

The vehicle, a silver Mazda Tribute SUV, drove into the building between the lawn and garden area and the auto service center, Grand Forks Fire Battalion Chief Mike Sandry said.

Firefighters were working to clear out paint thinners and other chemicals from the crash scene while police detectives took notes and photos.

Shelves were bulldozed by the vehicle, leaving behind a heap of ladders, paint rollers, brushes, masks and chemicals in its wake.  

Sandry said there were no structural concerns for the building as the car went straight through the doorway.

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