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Car plunges off airport parking structure

March 19, 2008|By Jeremy Oberstein

BURBANK — An allegedly drunk driver broke through the concrete wall in a parking structure at Bob Hope Airport Tuesday night, leaving him with minor injuries after he fell nearly 20 feet from the second level, officials said.

The car was exiting the parking lot, going from the third floor to the second floor, when Simon Graef, a 70-year-old from Valley Village, apparently accelerated toward the wall shortly before 10 p.m. as he tried to leave the structure, Burbank Police Sgt. Travis Irving said.

His 2004 Subaru Forester then broke through the concrete retaining wall and landed on its roof in a landscaped grove of plants and trees, according to the airport’s Community Relations Manager Lucy Burghdorf.

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"He landed upside down on top of the plants," she said. "Luckily, there was no one physically walking around there at the time."

The driver was removed from the car and transferred to Providence St. Joseph Medical Center shortly after the incident.

He received minor lacerations and was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence, Irving said.

Graef was admitted to the hospital at 10:37 p.m. and discharged at 1:30 a.m. "in good condition," Providence spokesman Dan Boyle said.

The accident did not close down the structure and affected only three parking spots, according to Burghdorf.

"They cleaned up the debris pretty quickly," she said.

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