A pickup truck drove through the front window of the Somewhere Else Cafe on Highway 1 Jan. 22.
Lynn Bell, a waitress at the restaurant on the highway between Dogwood Valley and Yale, said it was just after the lunch rush when a regular customer came driving in his truck. Instead of slowing to a stop, the vehicle crashed through the front window of the cafe.
“He came in slow and all of a sudden it was like it just came through the building. And you could hear it, it was like revved up, there was tons of smoke from the tires, squealing tires,” Bell said.
There were only two cafe employees inside at the time of the crash and neither they nor the driver were injured.
Hope RCMP, Yale Volunteer Fire Department and one ambulance responded, as well as a tow truck. Police arrived at 12:31 p.m. and two fire trucks arrived at 12:45 p.m. Yale fire chief Bruce Marshall said by the time fire trucks arrived the pickup truck was out of the building and the driver was being looked at by ambulance personnel.
Staff Sgt. Rehdner said the Hope RCMP have ruled out alcohol and speed as factors in the collision. He added there are no criminal or motor vehicle charges pending against the driver, but the investigation is ongoing.
Owner Gail Marlatt, returning from a supply run to Chilliwack when the accident happened, was upbeat about the situation. She said she feels bad for the driver of the vehicle and hopes to have her place back up and running within two weeks.
“It’ll get fixed, it’ll get back to normal. What can you do? Accidents happen,” she said. “I’ve got great staff, they all understand so it’s like ‘hey everybody, we’ve got a week or two off.’”
Bell said the five-person staff could come by hard times if the restaurant stays closed for an extended period, as most of them rely on it as their sole source of income.
She said it would also affect the truckers.
“I feel bad for the truckers, because there’s really no place for the truckers to stop and eat anymore. Not in Hope anymore, there’s no place to park big rigs,” she said.
Bell and Marlatt agree it was some luck the pickup arrived when it did. Prior to the crash, the lunch restaurant was full.
The booth at the window is also one Bell often sits in when the cafe is empty.
“Less than 10 minutes before we had a full house. It’s like somebody was out there watching,” Marlatt said.
When asked how the community could offer their support, Marlatt said to come and see them when they reopen.
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