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Driver Demolishes Small Businesses in Roslindale Square

9:51 AM EST on December 19, 2022

The aftermath of a car crash. A gold-colored Toyota sedan is buried in rubble with its front end poking into a barbershop on the ground floor of a two-story brick building with several small business storefronts. Above it, a section of the building's wall is completely collapsed, leaving second-floor offices exposed to the open air. Several firefighters mill about in the foreground across the street.

The aftermath of a car crash on Corinth Street in Roslindale Square on Sunday morning. Photo courtesy of WalkUp Roslindale.

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On Sunday morning, a driver used their Toyota sedan as a wrecking ball to destroy a prominent commercial building in Roslindale Square at the corner of Corinth and Birch Streets.

According to the Boston Fire Department, the perpetrator drove their car into the storefronts for Threading for Beauty and Sebastian's Barber Shop around 8:30 a.m. Sunday morning.

Those two businesses were closed and empty at the time of the crash. The perpetrator, who had to be extricated from their vehicle and evacuated to a hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, was the only person who suffered physical harm in the crash, according to the fire department.

A popular coffee shop on the other side of the same building, the Square Root Cafe, was open when the crash occurred, and customers and employees were forced to evacuate from the damaged building.

The crash completely destroyed the brick facade on part of the building, leaving several upper-floor offices above the barber shop exposed to the open air. The fire department reports that all of the building's small-business tenants will not be allowed back in until they can confirm that the building is structurally sound.

The crash occurred just south of the intersection of Belgrade Avenue and Corinth Street and the neighborhood's MBTA Needham Line rail station.

At that intersection, Belgrade Avenue transitions from a two-way street west of Corinth to a one-way westbound street east of Corinth. Eastbound motor vehicle drivers coming from Belgrade Avenue divert south onto Corinth Street, a busy street lined with small businesses, to go around the square.

Several Boston 311 complaints reference speeding and other dangerous behavior among drivers approaching Roslindale Square from Belgrade Avenue.

Boston's Vision Zero crash database records 10 motor vehicle crashes in the vicinity of that intersection since the start of 2018.

However, according to crash statistics, it's not the most dangerous place in Roslindale Square: the city's database records 15 crashes (5 of which involved a pedestrian) near the intersection of Cummins Highway, Washington Street, and South Street during the same period.

Roslindale residents have set up a GoFundMe fundraiser to aid the displaced businesses.

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