Mar 18, 2014 1:30 PM by Dave Fields

DQ manager: Crash could have been worse, restaurant back in operation

The manager of the Rayne Dairy Queen (DQ) is pleased to report that the restaurant is back to business following Sunday's one-vehicle crash that landed a pickup truck near the restaurant's service counter at dinner time.

Carlos Fuentes, who has managed the Boulevard location of DQ for 14 years, said the driver of the red 2004 Chevrolet pickup told him that "he was going to park and the accelerator got stuck." Fuentes said a contractor happened to be among 25 to 30 people in the restaurant during the 6:30p.m. collision. Fuentes said that the contractor began to assist in the clean-up of the restaurant after officers conducted their investigation into why the vehicle barreled through a dining room table after crashing through a brick fascia and two 6'X6' planes of glass. Fuentes tells KATC that employees "ran away from the original contact" and then afterward "ran back to assist."

"By the grace of God, there was nobody sitting at that table because we'd be talking about a different story right now," said Fuentes. Fuentes said that, although no employees were injured in the incident, he was told that there were mostly minor injuries and one moderate injury among the restaurant's customers.

"It could've been really bad. We were really fortunate," Fuentes said. The manager said that the driver, after the truck came to a stop, had to be assisted from the vehicle because "his doors were pinned in." Fuentes described his initial reaction to the collision.

"It was like an explosion. It sounded like a bomb going off with tires screeching, and after he finally came to a stop, he just sat in the vehicle," Fuentes explained. Fuentes said that the restaurant immediately started taking bids, and that contractors already have begun the work. He said the restaurant's operation should be "back to normal" within 3 to 4 days.

Fuentes said the restaurant reopened at 10 a.m Monday morning.

Capt. Tony Olinger, the Rayne Police Department spokesperson, said that investigators hope to know more about what caused the driver's truck to climb the sidewalk and barge into the restaurant, dislodging metal, wooden, and glass projectiles into the DQ dining area.

"The investigation is continuing and we're still reviewing evidence," said Olinger, who told KATC that police hope to share new information tomorrow. Olinger added that the department is pulling surveillance video to corroborate other elements of the investigation.

Fuentes said that he feels lucky that there was no electrical or plumbing damage to the building and describes the damage as mostly "cosmetic" rather than "structural." He said that, in his managerial experience, he could not have anticipated an incident like the one during Sunday's dinner rush.

"I've never seen that happen and I never want to see it again," Fuentes said.



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