FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — On Friday December 9, a car with two women inside crashed into The Village Tap along East State Boulevard.
It happened around 4:30 not long after the bar/restaurant opened for the day.
Fort Wayne Police confirmed to WANE 15 that driver of the car swerved to avoid a collision, resulting in the crash. Alcohol is not believed to be a factor.
Both women in the car walked away with minor injuries and, because there weren’t many people inside the bar yet, no one inside was hurt either.
“That’s the big concern. First thing was that everyone was OK. Had it been, maybe, even an hour later we could’ve expected some injuries, and we’re thankful that it happened when it did and that the ladies were able to walk away from the accident,” bartender and general manager Jeff Victorson said.
According to Victorson, the crash sent a loud boom through the building followed by a huge cloud of dust.
“We just heard an explosion,” he said.
They ran outside and found the car with the women inside, the airbags deployed, and they immediately called first responders.
Then they started surveying the damage.
“From the outside it looked like a small crash, sounded like a big crash, but then we walked inside and the whole wall was demolished,” Victorson added.
The damage forced them to close the rest of the weekend, and despite usually opening back up on Tuesdays, that didn’t happen today.
The East State Village business remains temporarily condemned.
It’s not clear when they’ll be able to reopen. Victorson said they had an engineer coming to examine the wall on Tuesday, then they’d need to have a contractor come out to fix it up, and they’ll also have to jump through a few hoops with the city and the county health department to make sure everything is up to code before they have permission to reopen.
It isn’t ideal for a bar and restaurant to be closed this time of year. On top of the holidays, it’s a big time of the year for sports, which draws customers who want to watch at a bar.
“It hurts a lot to not be open,” Victorson said. “It’s scary for all of our employees, but I think with insurance and the good ownership that we have that everyone’s going to be OK. We have a great outpouring from the neighborhood, and I’m sure that they’ll support us once we can get this going again.”
Victorson added that they do believe they’ll be able to reopen sooner than later and move forward from the brief closure.
“Unfortunately we had a couple of brand new customers, hope they come back, sitting quite close to the incident,” he said.