Cafe slammed when car goes out of control

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By Damon Lawrence

A parked van slammed into the side of a Kingston cafe after it was struck by another vehicle Monday afternoon.
Kingston Police Officer Jerry Singleton said 85-year-old Merle Josephine Jones was driving on West Race Street when she ran off the roadway and struck a sign at the Ridenour and Ridenour law office. The car continued, striking the van at nearby Blue Moon Cafe before finally coming to rest at a guardrail.
Blue Moon owner Charli Michaels said the van belonged to Joy Humphrey, a woman she works with.
“We were right there a minute and a half before it hit,” Michaels said.   
Singleton said Jones may have lost control of her car because she suffered a medical emergency. She was taken to Methodist Medical Center in Oak Ridge.
A similar accident happened less than a mile away on Aug. 24, when a driver had a seizure and plowed through the Classic Styles Salon, injuring 10.
Blue Moon Cafe opened in the little white building at Kingston City Park earlier this year.
Kingston Police Chief Jim Washam said the building suffered quite a bit of structural damage, but Michaels plans to reopen.   
“I hope to get it fixed in a couple weeks,” she said. “I can’t afford to stay closed much more. I’m a single mom taking care of a 7-year-old.”
Michaels said business at the cafe was starting to get better, so the accident couldn’t have happened at a worst time.
“For some reason, the Lord just made sure that we were safe,” she said. “Later on I may have my tears, but for now I’m just very joyful we’re OK.”