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Months After Truck Smashes Into Mechanic Shop, Business Struggling To Recover

Feb 28, 2019, 6:25 PM | Updated: 6:38 pm

WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah — A mechanic in West Valley City is struggling to keep his business rolling after a pick up truck smashed into his shop two months ago.

The people involved in the crash are uninsured, and the fate of the building is undetermined. The mechanic is worried about his customers if he can’t get his building fixed.

“It weighs on me pretty hard,” said Jared Fordham, working on a minivan in one of his two work bays.

The building at 6800 W. 3500 S. used to be a corner gas station when Fordham was a kid.

For the last nine years, he has fixed cars in the Cash Saver shop. Right now, he’s waiting to find out whether the building and his business will be torn down or rebuilt.

Mechanic Jared Fordham working in one of his work bays in his shop

Mechanic Jared Fordham working in one of his work bays in his shop.

“There are a lot of friendships that have developed,” he said.

Fordham knows this neighborhood well.

“I grew up just down the road, he said.

He first worked in that very same garage when he was 17 years old.

“It’s more than just a business,” he said.

His customers are friends. One of them tipped off KSL that he was struggling after the crash.

“That was the nice thing when this happened,” he said, “The outpouring from my customers.”

They were checking to make sure he was okay. They were worried the damage will force him to close.

“My life is in disarray because of the unknowing of what’s going on.”

On December 29th, around 8:40 PM, West Valley City police say this pick up truck was trying to make a sharp turn on 3500 South when it lost control and crashed into the corner of Fordham’s shop.

He raced over to his business and saw the damage.

“It was overwhelming,” he said. “It was like, what am I gonna do? It was a panic mode. This is my livelihood.”

He was worried about his customers and one customer’s truck which was in the garage when the truck crashed through the door. It sustained $8000 worth of damage.

“It was going to be a big thing as far as being able to work in here,” he said.

Two months later, he still doesn’t know the long-term answer to that question.

The West Valley City Chief Building Inspector told me they restricted him from using the second work bay because of severe damage to the structure of that corner of the building.

“It’s knocked it off the foundation by three to four inches,“ said Fordham.

He leases the building. An engineer is assessing the damage to determine whether it will be repaired or torn down.

Fordham’s business insurance took care of the damage to the customer’s vehicle that was in the shop at the time of the crash.

“He wasn’t happy that it happened. But, it couldn’t have happened to a better customer,“

The men in the truck, 21-year-old Jose Frogoso-Escorcia and 24-year-old Alfonso Escorcia-Garcia were charged with leaving the scene and providing false identification, according to court papers.

Frogoso was sentenced to 60 days in jail, but may be released to ICE before the sentence is done. Escorcia was released from jail one day after the crash, due to jail overcrowding. There remains a warrant out for his arrest.

While the mechanic waits for answers, he estimates he’s lost about 50% of his business with 50% of his work-space out of commission. Re-locating, or even rebuilding, cuts into his work.

“I worry about losing customers because not everybody’s going to get the word. They see a building that’s going down that’s been here for years and years,” he said. Right now, he just doesn’t know what to tell his customers about the future of his business.

“I’m scared. This is my livelihood.“

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Months After Truck Smashes Into Mechanic Shop, Business Struggling To Recover