Crash closes Main Street Bakery
A Woody Creek man drove an SUV into the Main Street Bakery and Cafe on Tuesday morning, rattling the building and the diners inside.No one was hurt, but the crash forced the restaurant to shut down. Owner Bill Dinsmoor said he expected to reopen for business today.Driver Alan McNeilly, apparently overcome by a fit of coughing, veered off Main Street and into the structure, some 15 feet from the curb. He was cited for failing to drive in a single lane. The vehicle rammed the front corner of the building just before 8 a.m., damaging the exterior and shattering a window located within arm’s length of the community table inside the popular eatery.Two men were seated at the table, though neither of them was seated at the window. Shattered glass covered the sidewalk outside, but some of it fell inward.
“It was just a big crash,” said one of the men. Both declined to be named.”Somebody yelled ‘get down’ – I think they thought it was a gunshot,” server Denise Ferguson said. “People literally ran and ducked. We heard the bang, and then the glass just kept falling.”Pretty much people got up and left afterward,” Ferguson said. “They were pretty shaken up.”Aspen resident David Bentley, a bakery regular, strolled up too late to get his usual seat at the community table – the chair next to the window.”That’s my spot – in the corner,” said Bentley, a part-time employee of The Aspen Times. “I was on my way here. My back would have been right there,” he said, nodding toward the broken windowpane.Though no one inside the bakery was hurt, an ambulance was summoned for McNeilly. Medical personnel found no reason, however, to transport him to the hospital.
“He had a coughing fit,” said Rick Magnuson, Aspen community safety officer. “He told me he had a lot of phlegm in his throat and he started coughing uncontrollably. He thinks he blacked out and hit the building.”McNeilly, 48, said he was wearing a seat belt, Magnuson said.Shortly after the accident, police ordered the restaurant closed until a structural engineer deemed it safe to use. Dinsmoor had the building inspected and received the OK to reopen it.”The structural stuff is OK,” he said early Tuesday afternoon. “We have to get with HPC [Historic Preservation Commission] to make sure we put the bricks back in the right places.”The building, which Dinsmoor leases, is about 110 years old and listed on the city’s historic inventory, overseen by the HPC.
The impact of the crash knocked a chunk of the stucco and a layer of brick out of the building. The Chevy Suburban, which was eastbound in the traffic lane closest to the building, also mangled a park bench and scattered newspaper boxes lining the sidewalk on Monarch Street.The scene attracted passers-by who stopped to survey the damage, while would-be diners arrived to find the sidewalk in front of the cafe cordoned off with yellow police tape.”Can we still get some muffins to go?” one asked hopefully.The restaurant’s pastries were gone by midday – served for free to police and others working on the scene.”Thank God no one was hurt and the building survived, and the cops ate the doughnuts,” Dinsmoor said.Janet Urquhart’s e-mail address is email@example.com
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