July 25, 2012

Restaurant destroyed after truck crashes through storefront

By Dennis Hoey dhoey@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

BOWDOINHAM — The front of a popular Bowdoinham general store and restaurant was destroyed Wednesday afternoon when a pickup truck's brakes failed and it came crashing through the building.

click image to enlarge

No one was injured when a truck crashed into the Town Landing Restaurant in Bowdoinham, but the eatery sustained heavy damage.

Courtesy of Lynn Spiro

Lynn Spiro, who owns the Town Landing Restaurant at the corner of Main Street and Route 24, said there were seven people inside, including a couple of employees, when the truck entered the restaurant around 1 p.m.

Spiro said the truck caused extensive damage to a counter and to space that is devoted to store items. She said the Town Landing may have to remain closed for a few days.

"It was just luck that no one was sitting at that counter," said Spiro, who lives upstairs. "The first thing I need to do is to make sure the building is structurally safe."

According to the Sagadahoc County Sheriff's Department, which investigated the crash, a 1986, 1-ton Chevrolet pickup truck, operated by 31-year-old Richard Ellis of Bowdoinham, was travelling down Main Street in the direction of the restaurant when the truck's brakes failed.

The restaurant is located at the foot of a hill near the Phillip Mailly Park on the Cathance River.

Sheriff Joel A. Merry said Ellis swerved to avoid a car on Main Street, which caused the truck to strike the front of the Town Landing building. Merry said the entire truck entered the wooden structure.

Merry said the employees and diners were seated at the rear of the building where the dining area is located.

"In the morning that place is packed with people coming in for breakfast and a cup of coffee," Merry said. "It's amazing that no one was hurt."

Ellis was shaken up, but did not suffer any serious injuries. He will not face any charges. His truck had to be towed out of the building. The truck sustained minor damage.

"Steel is still a lot stronger than wood," Merry said, referring to the extensive damage the impact caused to the building.

Spiro said the community reaction to the accident was immediate. Several residents volunteered to help clean up the damage.

Others have offered to help her rebuild.

The business is insured, Spiro said.

"If this had to happen, I'm glad it was here. This town is amazing," Spiro said.

Staff Writer Dennis Hoey can be contacted at 791-6365 or at:

dhoey@mainetoday.com

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