A Roseburg man was cited for reckless driving after allegedly falling asleep and crashing into Pete’s Drive-In Sunday morning, forcing the business to close for at least three months.
Jimmie Dunn, 49, was driving the 1998 Toyota Camry when it crashed and caught fire around 6 a.m.
The vehicle was later towed from the scene.
By Sunday afternoon, workers from Pierce Restoration began covering up large sections of the business with plywood and cleaned up shards of glass and other damage strewn everywhere in front of the building.
Pete’s will remain closed for at least three months while the damage is repaired, owner Darrell Orth said. He said he plans to look at a food truck that can be relocated to the existing site, as soon as all of the licensing requirements are met. Pete’s originally opened in 1965 when Harvard Avenue was the busy street in town. The venue serves classic burgers and shakes, adding things like Philly cheesesteak sandwiches occasionally.
Orth bought the drive-in two years ago, having a manager handle the property for him. But in July, he and his family moved back so he could become the owner-operator and start restoring the building.
Inside the drive-thru with mangled kitchen appliances strewn about, a clipboard showed hand-drawn initial plans for a redesign of operations.
For now, future remodel plans will have to wait.
“Kind of ironic, isn’t it,” Orth said, standing outside the building at its location in the 1200 block of West Harvard Avenue.
Orth was notified of the crash Sunday morning by his banker, he said.
“His wife had driven by and thought the building was on fire.
He said if the crash had happened on another day, anyone inside would have suffered a serious or fatal injury.
“They wouldn’t have fared too well,” Orth said.
But despite the structural damage, Pete’s will be back, he said.
“I feel I am the caretaker of Pete’s and I owe it to the community to make sure it’s restored and operating as soon as possible,” Orth said.