From St. Catharine Standard:
One of the owners of Country Fresh Donuts says the popular Niagara Falls restaurant will reopen, but it’s too soon to say when.
“We will fix it up,” said co-owner John Tu. “We’re waiting for insurance to come in and assess and investigate.”
A car crashed through the front window of the building at the corner of Victoria Ave. and Jepson St. shortly before 2 a.m. Monday.
The vehicle smashed the front window, plowed through the restaurant and went out the other side.
The 22-year-old restaurant, which is especially popular for its wonton soup, is open 24 hours.
The two occupants of the vehicle were taken to hospital with non-life threatening injuries and the three people inside the building were not injured, said Niagara Regional Police Const. spokesman Rich Gadreau.
According to police, emergency personnel responded at 1:50 a.m. after a 28-year-old male driver from St. Catharines travelling north on Victoria Ave. lost control of the vehicle.
The driver had to be extricated and was taken to Greater Niagara General Hospital. The female passenger was also taken to hospital for precautionary reasons, said Gadreau.
The driver was charged with careless driving.
“It doesn’t look like alcohol was a factor,” said Gadreau.
The vehicle and building suffered extensive damage, he said. Police said the restaurant is expected to be closed for several weeks, if not months until it can be repaired.
Tu’s wife, Mary, was working inside the restaurant when the crash happened.
“I heard a bang,” she said. “It sounded like a bomb.”
Mary said she approached the car and saw a woman inside calling for help. She unsuccessfully tried to open the door.
After running to a nearby business asking for help, two people assisted her in pulling the woman out.
“Two minutes before (the crash), four people were sitting there,” said Mary, pointing to the corner where the car came to rest. “They are so lucky.”
Many people stopped by the cordoned-off restaurant throughout the day, taking pictures and sharing stories.
“You’re going to open up again, right?” Niagara Falls resident Rickilee Caicco asked Mary. “We need our wonton soup,” Caicco said with a laugh.
Caicco said she visits the restaurant at least once or twice a week.
“I was in such total shock. I didn’t believe it. I was at the gym and had to come and see it myself.”
Lucille Cote-Ketcheson described Country Fresh as her “regular donut shop.
“I have a group (of friends) that go every day. They got the greatest coffee around and they got the best donuts and everything is all home made.
"I can’t believe this. This really upsets me.”
Cote-Ketcheson said she usually sits in the corner of the restaurant where the car came to rest.
Chris Vanderlee, who lives a few doors from the restaurant, said he was there a couple hours before the crash, eating wonton soup.
Vanderlee said he heard a “dull thump” from his house.
“It sounded like it was a block away and I didn’t pay any more attention to it until I hear these (emergency) vehicles and I see the lights coming."
Vanderlee said he and his mother frequent the restaurant. He usually sits at the counter, on the other side of the building.
“This morning, I kept thinking that could have been me just sitting there. It’s just unbelievable. It’s so close to home.”
Amanda McGaw, who lives in the neighbourhood, said she didn’t hear the crash, but was happy to hear nobody was seriously hurt.
“We come here all the time for the wonton soup, of course. They’re great people, too — very friendly.”
McGaw was also happy to hear the owners plan to reopen in the future.
“I’m sure they will. There would be riots if they didn’t,” she said with a laugh.