Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Wild ride leaves path of destruction

Truck careens through Brunkild

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A wild weekend ride tore a strip through cosy Brunkild on Saturday night -- though luckily, everyone lived to tell the tale.

At 10:30 p.m., about 20 staff and patrons were milling about the colourful Brunkild Bar and Grill on Highway 3, when the building was shaken by a sudden smash. Folks rushed outside to see what had happened and discovered a swath of destruction leading right up to the bar.

According to witnesses, a man driving a rented 2012 Chevrolet half-ton truck veered off the highway at what is believed to be a high rate of speed. The speed limit through town is 50 kilometres per hour.

First, the truck smashed into a hydro pole on the side of the highway, leaving it in pieces.

Then it careened through a small park on the side of the highway, where it crashed into a 300-kilogram granite monument, snapping it in two and sending pieces flying about 10 metres.

But the truck kept going, crushing a steel tree support, knocking out two fence posts and finally ramming into the back of two vehicles parked on the bar's north side.

The force of the impact sent one of those vehicles into the bar's loading dock and the other flying through the bar's wall, pulverizing an inner hallway that served as a waiting area for the bar's beer vendor.

Both of the parked cars were totalled, while the Chevrolet's front end was smashed in. A trail of debris -- granite, hydro-pole wood, torn-up turf, leaked gas -- marked the truck's wild ride off the highway.

Luckily, nobody inside the building was injured. The driver, who witnesses described as a Winnipeg man in his 20s, was taken away in an ambulance. RCMP were not available to confirm the man's condition on Sunday night, but witnesses said he was speaking and did not appear to be severely injured.

Power was out in part of Brunkild for three hours, as Manitoba Hydro crews worked to erect a new pole.

Brunkild Bar and Grill owner Gary Desrosiers said he feels lucky the crash wasn't worse.

The truck plowed into the area where bar patrons often go outside for a cigarette, but there was no one outside at the time of the crash.

"The first thing we were worried about is if anybody was hurt," Desrosiers said. "Once we figured that out, it became kind of funny. That's all you can do really is laugh, but it did quite a bit of damage."

Even though the bar's outer wall has been bashed clear into the inside, Desrosiers is taking it in stride.

"Cars can be fixed, buildings can be fixed," he said. "People are irreplaceable."

melissa.martin@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition September 10, 2012 A3

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