A street sign ends up next to the crash scene. The view inside the Dak Thai Cafe where the truck stopped.
CRESWELL – On Saturday morning, locals were horrified to see a truck smash into a commercial building, causing severe damage to Dak Thai Café and Creswell Wellness Center. Officials report the crash occurred between 5:30 and 6 a.m.
Al Bennett is the owner of the building, for him, the loss means pinching pennies and hours on the phone with insurance agencies. “I feel terrible for the family who owns it because Dak Thai, it’s their livelihood. And it’s a fantastic restaurant, which I personally love. I want to get them back up to speed as soon as possible,” Bennett said.
Pictures from a community Facebook page show the truck and camper were inside of the building, on the corner of West Oregon Avenue and Front Street.
Lane County officials report that there were no people in or around the building at the time of the crash. “Thank God that there were no people in there,” Bennett said. “Actually it’s a good thing that that brick planter was there on the corner because it slowed him down. He would have plowed into the restaurant at a much higher impact.”
Todd May with the Creswell Sheriff’s department reported that the driver was cited and given mental and physical health checks at the scene. He said the cause of the crash is still under investigation, but the driver was medically evaluated and found to be sober and healthy. As of just after 8:30 a.m. Saturday, crews appeared to have cleared the scene. The driver was later transported to an area hospital.
In the aftermath of the crash, Bennett took to facebook to thank community members who supported him, writing, “Out of bad came good. Scott and Chelsea Pisani and Floyd and Jeanne Plummer, were right on the scene and did whatever needed to be done. Aaron and Jenni Donley were incredibly helpful in facilitating debris removal. Seth is so thoughtful and caring to help support this wonderful family. I was connected, by Cascade Hardware, with a wonderful contractor couple who did a fantastic job on securing the space, and quickly!”
There are multiple businesses downtown fundraising for the Dak Thai Café – Pazzo, The Round Up Saloon, and Blue Valley Bistro have all stepped in to help. After only two days of putting a donation jar out, Seth Clark from Blue Valley Bistro estimated they’d raised $1,000.
“It happened on a prominent corner in this community. There’s good people in this town, and we all just kind of wanted to do what we could to get the ship righted again and back on track,” Clark said.
Monday, Blue Valley wrote on its Facebook page, “Restaurant to restaurant, we have started a donation jar for Dak Thai. We’d love to fill it up today to help this local business out. Please tell your friends. They’re going to need some help if we want them to reopen soon.”