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Big mess but thankfully, no injuries, at Perham Dairy Queen

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Mike Winjum had a "break-in" Wednesday afternoon at his Dairy Queen restaurant on Third Avenue SE in Perham.

When Winjum returned to his business he found nothing missing. In fact, something had been added. There was a rather large hole punched in the northwest corner of his building courtesy of a Chevrolet Silverado pickup.

"What I know right now is that a gentleman and his wife were coming in. I think they went to hit the brake and kind of like normal and he might have missed the brake and panicked and hit the gas," Winjum said.

The result was a wall of bricks smashing into the interior of the building along with the truck.

"It sounded like a bomb went off," Winjum said.

Despite the unexpected calamity, there was a tremendous amount of luck associated with the bizarre accident according to Winjum, who is co-owner of the business along with his brother, Mark.

"We were very lucky that no one got injured," Winjum said. "We were extremely, extremely lucky because we probably had nine people on and we had no one in that area."

The section of the building which the truck smashed through is a storage area where Dairy Queen employees take their breaks. No one was in the storage area at the time of the accident.

"It took the shelving from one wall and pushed it 10-15 feet across the store into our other storage. Our shelving got smashed all together," Winjum said. "Our three-dip sink was ripped right off the wall so we had water shooting. The fire department got here right away and got the water and gas shut off. The police got here and blocked the traffic so we are appreciative."

Emergency medical personnel made sure the occupants of the truck were not injured and the building was evacuated.

According to the Perham Police Department the call for service came in at 2:53 p.m. Neither alcohol or drugs were contributing factors. No charges against the driver are pending at the present time. According to Perham Police Chief Jason Hoaby the driver was a 79-year-old Perham man. Hoaby said the man's foot slipped off the brake and the vehicle jumped ahead.

Winjum was also pleased with the rapid response of local construction, electric and plumbing businesses.

"We are just very appreciative," Winjum said. "The local support has been great."

The business is presently closed and Winjum is not sure when they can reopen.

"Now it's just the huge mess. We're throwing stuff away and cleaning it up," Winjum said. "Everything can be replaced and rebuilt. It's kind of like an unscheduled remodel project."