'Wildbirds Unlimited' still recovering one month after deadly crash

11:44 PM, Mar 23, 2013   |    comments
  • A Chrysler 300 crashed into Wildbirds Unlimited and The Tomato Head on February 28, 2013
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It's been nearly one month since a car crashed into The Tomato Head and Wildbirds Unlimited, both located in West Knoxville's "The Gallery" shopping center, and killed one woman.

Wildbirds Unlimited's General Manager Kathy Getsey said, "The wall opened up, the sky opened up, the ceiling opened up and everything just rained in."

Getsey still remembers the moment a Chrysler 300 slammed into the business.

"We had a customer who was looking at bluebird houses, which are normally in this spot in the store," the she said.

Getsey pointed out a hand print on the wall and continued, "This is her hand print on the wall as she was being pushed into the wall."

Getsey said that customer survived, but Bledsoe County Middle School Principal Deborah Thompson was killed in the crash.

As cleanup continues at Wildbirds Unlimited's original location, there was standing room only at its temporary location several stores down in the same shopping center. More than two dozen people showed up to hear world-class birder Billie Cantwell's free lecture about bluebirds.

"Nature has its own rules. They don't give us a book on it so we just have to try to do what we think is right," Cantwell said.

That same logic  has been put into action by employees at Wildbirds Unlimited, who believe having free programs for the public is a way to give back to the community that has shown so much support to the business, especially over the last month.

"I've never been hugged as much in my life as I've been hugged in the last few weeks. We'll be back, we'll be better than ever, and we'll be giving back as soon as we get back into the store," said Getsey.

There's no set timeline for the re-opening of Wildbirds Unlimited's original location. Getsey said they're hoping to get it done as soon as possible.

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