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Watch: North Vancouver florist 'overwhelmed' with support following devastating crash

Dashcam video footage shows a car careening through a parking lot and hitting a parked car, resulting in massive damage to the nearby flower shop just a week before Mother’s Day

Just a week before one of her busiest days of the year, Jennifer Sullivan’s flower arranging schedule came crashing to a halt. On the evening of May 4, a vehicle smashed through the entrance to her shop, destroying much of the work done in preparation for Mother’s Day.

But the North Vancouver florist has come out smelling roses, after a blossom of support allowed her to reopen her store and start bunching bouquets for Mother’s Day on Sunday.

The florist, owner of Special Moments Flowers and Gifts in the Park & Tilford shopping plaza, was away in Whistler when she got a call from an RCMP constable telling her there was a serious accident at her store.

At first Sullivan didn’t believe him. She asked him to send a photo, which he did.

“I was pretty shocked … then I was upset,” said the florist, who has run her store for 27 years.

“The whole storefront was bent into the store, and the car was sitting broken in the middle of my store. So everything that was in the front, the glass shards from the windows, the plants that I’ve been preparing for Mother’s Day that were up there as well – everything was destroyed,” Sullivan said.

What had caused the carnage was later revealed on dashcam footage from a car parked in front of Special Moments.

Driver being investigated for alcohol-related offences, police say

On the video, taken around 8 p.m., the driver of a black Lexus is seen accelerating to a very high speed in the parking lot, before slamming head-on into a parked car and sending a spray of debris into the air.

The force of the impact was enough to send the parked car careening into Sullivan’s store across the street. The driver’s vehicle was stopped by bollards in front of the neighbouring Winners.

“It was hard to comprehend how somebody would be doing that, and to find out that this person had been drinking, and that nobody was in the car that had been hit head on … and that nobody was walking around,” she said.

Especially on busy weeks, it’s not uncommon for her to be in the store after hours, Sullivan explained. People were inside the JJ Bean next door, but no one there was hurt.

The driver is being investigated for alcohol-related offences, said Const. Mansoor Sahak, spokesperson for North Vancouver RCMP. Police expect to forward charges, but none have been laid yet.

While Sullivan will never get back the work destroyed by the crash, she gained a display of support that she never could have anticipated.

Friends and family reached out, of course, but so did a colourful arrangement of strangers  from regular customers offering to volunteer, to a GoFundMe set up by a Surrey florist, to kind voicemails from folks as far away as Toronto and Florida.

“I don’t have very many tears left to cry much more, but I’ve been crying,” Sullivan said. “All the emotional support, and kindness and gestures is completely overwhelming.”

With plywood as a temporary replacement for the door and windows that were lost, a staff member was spotted last week busily wrapping Mother’s Day bouquets on a table outside the store.

Sullivan said she wants people to know the store is still open, and that her designers are hard at work fulfilling orders despite the crash.

“I would never want to let anybody down no matter what,” she said.

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