Goshen News, Goshen, IN

December 7, 2012

Car crashes into Essenhaus gift shop


MIDDLEBURY — Das Dutchman Essenhaus was open for business Thursday afternoon despite a car that ended up in the hallway of their gift shop at about 3:15 p.m.

“I was sitting upstairs in my office and heard a horrendous crash of breaking glass,” Joel Miller, facilities manager, said. “The first thing I see is a car sitting in our hallway. I couldn’t believe it. An older lady got the gas and brake mixed up a little bit.”

There was a lot of smoke and gift items strewn around when Miller reached the hallway, he said.

“Fortunately no one was hurt. An employee was near there and wasn’t hurt,” Miller said. “We called 911 right away and the police and fire departments were there immediately. We called Miller’s Towing Service for a wrecker and got the car pulled out within 45 minutes after it happened.”

Kelly Huffman of Goshen was sitting in her car in the parking lot at Essenhaus and was an eyewitness to the incident.

“It was something to witness,” Huffman said. “I was just sitting outside the bakery and looked to the left. I was talking on my speaker phone and she just guns it. She thought she was in reverse and it was in forward. The lady doing gifts had just walked by there. It’s just a miracle nobody was hurt.”

Middlebury Police Officer Marc Cockburn said, “The driver advised us that she didn’t know what happened. The vehicle was totally inside. The driver had no medical issues and was checked out. There’s nothing physically or mentally wrong, it’s just an accident.”

Two hours after the incident happened, the hole in the building was closed in by a crew from DJ Construction in Goshen, Miller said.

“We have a good working relationship with them and they had a crew available to come out and button up the hole,” Miller said. “We are still open and we had a lot of banquets tonight. We made some adjustments and made a new path for our bakery.”

Several employees were called in to help after the crash and Miller said they did a quick cleanup together.

“Tomorrow we’ll do a more thorough cleanup and see what has been damaged to turn in,” Miller said. “It’s a shocker to see a car in your hallway instead of gift items.”