Island Lake Inn owners rush to reopen after vehicle crashes into property – Reuters

GNESEN TOWNSHIP — A van ripped into the Island Lake Inn, 7153 Rice Lake Road, on Wednesday morning, forcing the business to temporarily close on the brink of the July 4 weekend, typically the busiest time of year, according to co-owner Stéphanie Hanna.

She said staff and contractors were working hard on Wednesday afternoon in hopes of reopening on Friday.

The St. Louis Sheriff’s Office received a report at 6:49 a.m. Wednesday that a vehicle had crashed into the bar and restaurant. The vehicle left the roadway, hit a wall and traveled about 25 feet into the building before coming to rest at the bar, Hanna said.

While Hanna was not in the building at the time, she said security cameras captured the incident and showed the van moving at high speed as it entered the business.

A van was towed out of the Island Lake Inn on Wednesday morning after crashing into the property.

Photo courtesy of Island Lake Inn

“It streaked across the side of the bar at extremely fast speed, and our cameras only picked up dust for about five minutes,” she said. “He had to fly through the air about a foot and a half to even go through the wall. I don’t even really know how that was possible.”

The driver, Jens Peter Hort, of Tower, said he fell asleep on his way to work in Duluth. He suffered minor injuries but did not require medical attention, according to the sheriff’s office report. Hort was wearing a seatbelt and the vehicle’s airbags had deployed.

Neither alcohol nor any other drugs appear to have been a factor in the accident, according to the report.

Island Lake Inn crash
A van came to a stop at the Island Lake Inn after traveling approximately 25 feet through the business. No one was seriously injured.

Contributed / Island Lake Inn

Hanna said a cleaner working at the time was nearly hit but not injured. She was on the other side of the bar where the vehicle came to a stop.

“It threw a pull-bar machine over the bar,” Hanna said. The accident also destroyed the hostel’s bathrooms.

“We’ve got some super good teams coming in and rushing in to help us out as we hope to be reopening by Friday afternoon,” Hanna said, adding that she was optimistic. “People are stepping up and that means a lot to us.”

Hanna acknowledged that the Island Lake Inn is located very close to Rice Lake Road, but said the vehicle entered the building after driving through the company parking lot.

Hanna said an adjuster was on the scene shortly after the accident, but she did not yet have a damage estimate in hand.

This story was updated at 2:03 p.m. June 29 with quotes from the Island Lake Inn and photos. It was originally posted at 1:01 p.m. on June 29.

Comments are closed.