Ill man dead after collision with grocery store wall

Casey Grove

A man apparently suffering from a medical condition died after his vehicle collided at low speed with a grocery store early Thursday in northeast Anchorage, police say.

Police found Peniata Tauinaola, 56, unconscious inside the 1996 Chevrolet Suburban, which struck the wall of the Carrs Quality Center at Northway Mall about 1:50 a.m., police spokeswoman Dani Myren said. Tauinaola was later pronounced dead, Myren said.

A Carrs employee called 911 just after the collision saying the Suburban had run into the store's wall, Myren said. It had been traveling between 5 and 10 mph and appeared to be pulling into a parking spot at the lot's west side, she said. It gently struck the side of a parked vehicle before bumping into the building, which is at 3101 Penland Parkway, Myren said.

The original report was of a hit-and-run collision, possibly because the driver was slumped down, but Carrs employees eventually got into the Suburban to check Tauinaola for a pulse, which was either weak or nonexistent, Myren said. A police officer arrived, pulled Tauinaola out of the Suburban and tried to revive him with the help of medics who arrived a minute or two later, the police spokeswoman said. They took the stricken man to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead, Myren said.

"It appears there was some medical condition, but I don't know what the medical condition is," said Myren, who added that medical privacy laws prevented her from disclosing the condition. "There's no indication that the collision caused his unconscious state. There were no visible injuries to the victim."

Damage to both vehicles and the building was minor, Myren said. There was no evidence of drugs or alcohol in the crash, she said.


Reach Casey Grove at or 257-4589.