LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — A car crashed through a northwest valley restaurant just weeks before it was due to open. The owner says, however, it’s just a bump in the road to expanding a business during a global pandemic.
What started as a typical Sunday turned into something much different for Rochelle Hodge, owner of Twice Baked Gourmet Potatoes near Craig and Jones. The business, which has served customers for years, was due to open its first storefront June 15.
Then, on May 30, a car came crashing through the front door. It ended up completely inside the building.
Surveillance video from the restaurant next door, Paulie’s South Street Steaks, shows the car hitting the wall the two businesses share. Two people sitting at a table next to the wall were eating their lunch at the time.
Thankfully, no one was hurt.
Hodge took the I-Team’s David Charns into her space, which as of Friday, still showed signs of the crash.
“This right here would be a customer sitting,” Hodge pointed out, which happens to be right next to the front door. If Twice Baked were open, a person could have been sitting in the car’s path and killed.
“I look at everything for a reason, because remember, if we were open and our employees and our customers were in there, it would have been a tragedy,” Hodge said.
“I’m just so happy she wasn’t open, because this could have easily been a fatality,” Mel Singer, co-owner of Paulie’s, said. “I’m just happy none of our customers were hurt.”
Surrounded by dust and debris, there is hope in the now-boarded up space.
“This is just a speedbump on our way to success,” Twice Baked’s manager, Mercedes Fuller, said. “This is going to be just fine.”
Hodge said she hopes to open her restaurant in August. Her original target date was February 2021, but due to the pandemic and delays with permitting, the opening was pushed back to June.
A friend set up a GoFundMe page for Hodge to help pay her employees and cover any other emergency costs. She did have insurance.
Witnesses said the driver and his passenger were OK after the crash. The I-Team reached out to Metro Police for more details, but the request was declined. The records department cited the ongoing investigation as a reason not to release further details.