Phil Doremus and Dick Greiser survey the situation after a car drove through the right front window.

A patron failed to put his car in reverse and drove through the right front window of Greiser’s Coffee and Market Friday morning. It might have been April fools day, but the accident was not a joke. Fortunately, no one was hurt.

Baristas Ryan Murawski and Christian Holm-Hansen were working behind the counter at the time. Phil Doremus, a regular customer, was drinking coffee and reading the newspaper in his car parked nearby.

“Someone crashed through the front window,” Ryan said. “He thought he was in reverse and went through the window. Glass shattered everywhere. He was super sad and super upset. He backed out of it, and I called 911. Sometimes it just happens. You have outside forces at work.” 

The coffee shop and market closed for 15 minutes and then resumed business as usual. Owner Adrienne Burke was at home at the time but immediately came to the shop with her husband, Jeff Foster.

“One other thing I can tell you is that when I got the call at home at 8:25 a.m. from Ryan that I needed to come down to the store because someone had driven through the front window and the police and fire department were already here, I really believed it was an April fools joke!” Burke said.

“I also thought it was funny that police officer Mike who follows us on Facebook immediately commented on how sad it was that two of the new Paris bistro chairs I had searched for three years were demolished. I’m grateful to Gene and Dick for cleaning up the glass and boarding up the hole so quickly.”

Tracy Carlucci buys a coffee from baristas Christian Him-Hansen and Ryan Murawski later Friday morning. — Nancy Doniger Photo

“It was more embarrassing than anything,” Doremus said. “I had come in here just before it happened and was sitting outside, adjacent to where the car was parked. I was minding my own business, drinking coffee and reading the newspaper. I heard a disturbance of some kind but didn’t realize how exciting things were 25 feet away. That’s the cause of my embarrassment.”

Phil Doremus was drinking coffee outside when a man drove through the window at Greiser’s. — Nancy Doniger Photo

Property owner Dick Greiser, whose family has owned the site for generations and continues to sell antiques and pump gas, called Gene Eastwood, a neighbor, to help out. Eastwood does restoration and carpentry work. 

“The driver didn’t know reverse from drive and decided to go through the window,” Eastwood said. “Dickie called me and said ‘I have a little project for you.’ Eastwood pulled out the old window and will make up a new sash and frame. He estimates that in about a month or a month-and-a-half he will put it back.

“We’ll get it all fixed like brand new,” Eastwood said. “Dickie said they put it in the window in the ‘60s. We might get it to look better than new. It might look better than the building here,” he said, echoing Dick’s well-known dry humor. 

Gene Eastwood boards up the window that shattered when a car drove through it.

Eastwood inherited his grandparents’ house and has been a Greiser’s regular for years. “My grandparents moved up here in the mid 1940s,” he said. “I used to come down here with my cousin and buy candy and soda. It’s always been a nice town. I always loved it here. I’m the last Eastwood in Easton. I’m going to continue on.”

“I can only say, thank God, no one was hurt,” Burke said. “And Dick and I have already discussed installing parking spot barriers like the one in front of the Van Accessible spot to prevent anything like this ever happening again.”

“We didn’t go through zoning,” Dick quipped. “I wonder if they’re going to come after us.”

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By Nancy Doniger

Nancy Doniger worked as a journalist for three decades and was a founding editor of the nonprofit Easton Courier in partnership with the School of Communications, Media & the Arts at Sacred Heart University (SHU). She served two years as executive member and is now a contributing editing of the Easton Courier. She was a former managing editor of Hometown Publications and Hersam Acorn Newspapers covering Connecticut's Fairfield and New Haven counties. She was a correspondent for the Connecticut section of The New York Times from 1995 until the section was discontinued in 2006. Over the years she edited The Easton Courier, The Monroe Courier, The Bridgeport News and other community newspapers. She taught news editing as an adjunct professor at SHU and served as coordinator and member of the Community Assets Network for the Easton, Redding and Region 9 schools. She was a member of the Newtown Community Center Commission, member of the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ), board member of the New England Newspaper and Press Association (NENPA), and past president and board member of the Barnard Club of Connecticut. She has won awards for her writing from SPJ and NENPA.