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Local

Moo’s BBQ building struck by drunk driver

Incident forces restaurant to close while repairs are made

Moo’s BBQ owner Jeremy Biondi received a call Saturday no business owner wants to hear, a car had driven into the side of his restaurant, causing extensive damage.

According to a press release from the Newton Police Department, at approximately 6 a.m. a vehicle reportedly entered the parking lot of Casey’s General Store, 1200 W. 18th St. S., drove through a guard rail on the south side of the lot and struck the building next to the convenience store — Moo’s BBQ. The vehicle was traveling at a high rate of speed, which catapulted it into the north side of Moo’s near the drive-through window.

There was significant damage to the outside of the building but the damage to the inside is what is forcing the local restaurant to close its doors until repairs can be made.

“We don’t know how long we will be closed for because all of the equipment inside. The ovens don’t really work. I’ve got two smokers inside I can’t test because they had to shut the gas off because there was a broken gas line,” Biondi said.

The restaurant was not open at the time of the incident but one Moo’s employee was working in the kitchen, preparing food for the day. He received only minor injuries as a result of the crash.

“He’s got a bloody nose. If he’d have been two or three feet to the west he would have been killed or seriously injured,” Biondi said.

Iowa State Patrol arrested Daniel L. Woldsilasie, 46, of Newton, on charges for operating while intoxicated first offense, according to the press release. The Newton Fire Department also responded to the scene to help contain the natural gas leak.

Biondi said repairs to the outside of the building will happen as soon as possible. The timeline for reopening the restaurant will depend on how much other damage is discovered as repairs get underway.

“We are hoping two weeks or less,” Biondi said.

Since the incident has occurred, Biondi has received several messages from community members willing to help out the small business owner in his time of need.

“There’s been a lot people messaging me saying how can we help and asking if I need any help cleaning up,” he said.

Saturday’s incident isn’t the first time the Newton restaurant has been damaged from a careless driver. In November 2018, a semi-truck struck the side of the building causing damage to a corner on the east of the exterior. The damage sustained in last year’s event wasn’t enough to close the restaurant.

The sign on the door at Moo’s BBQ may say the restaurant is closed indefinitely, but that doesn’t mean permanently. Biondi is confident the favorite Newton eatery will be back serving barbecue to its customers as soon as possible.

“We will reopen,” Biondi said.

Contact Pam Pratt at 641-792-3121 ext. 6530 or pampratt@newtondailynews.com

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