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‘These kinds of things are just sort of devastating,’ says Palm Springs Mayor after car damages two stores, including his own

Two business owners in Palm Springs are trying to gain back some sense of normalcy, after a car rammed into both of their store, causing thousands of dollars of damage.

Jeffrey Bernstein, the Mayor of Palm Springs, just so happens to be one of those business owners. He owns Destination PSP on Palm Canyon. Bernstein says the event left him rattled, but determined to make sure it never happens in the future.

“It's a little bit of shock," said the mayor. "It's a little bit of did someone do this on purpose? Which did not seem to be the case at all. As a small business owner, which is my other role, these kinds of things are just sort of devastating, because it's tough enough as it is, and to have to go through something like this was quite difficult. But again, we were very spared in this process compared to the other store." Bernstein is talking about Sunny Days, the store next door that took the brunt of the damage.

Although it seemed like it may have been a targeted attack, the mayor says he doesn't believe it was.

"It's all strange," said Bernstein. "I'm not sure exactly what was intentional or not? Clearly the person seemed to be under the influence of something. I haven't seen any test results. But watching the videos, it almost seemed that he was not totally coherent during this process.”

Investigators believe perhaps it was the result of a thwarted attempt to run over a different target, the 'Forever Marilyn' statue on Museum Way.

According to PSPD, the statue is what the 30-year old driver originally planned to intentionally hit, however, a barricade of bollards stopped him. Similar bollards, along with pedestrian safety an security are something the mayor says he's been advocating for around town.

"I've actually been talking to our city manager and our police chief about this in our engineering department for at least a year and we have all come together and realized the extreme need for more traffic safety in our city," said the mayor. "So that may include some bollards, it could include more DUI checkpoints. In fact, there was a DUI checkpoint on Friday night."

The mayor also wants to continue protecting businesses in the area, especially if they are designated a historic building, including the building that was damaged.

"Luckily there was no structural damage," said Bernstein. "The driver actually did hit several structural columns, both in my store and on our neighbor's store. But with buildings like this, even the windows and the framing of the windows are very hard to deal with. This was built 70-years ago. And so these things are hard to replace."

Aside from continuing to pick up the pieces, the mayor is looking to the future in the hopes of preventing such a tragedy from happening again in the future.

"This could have been worse," said Bernstein. "You know, it was Friday night, late ,and we were closed, and our neighbors were closed. But had this been on Village Fest night, or earlier that night, there could have been real damage to people. Speeding, reckless driving, driving under the influence, all of these things are things that we have to end. And certainly when it comes to historic buildings, we need to make sure they're safe and protected.”

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Tori King


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