A Dubuque bar sustained major damage early Monday when an allegedly intoxicated driver crashed into its wall.
While the hole in the side of The Southend Tap, 55 Locust St., was covered with wood by Monday afternoon, the bar and floor inside was covered in soot. The back counter behind the bar was leaning forward due to the crash’s impact.
“It’s completely trashed,” said bar owner John Ohnesorge. “It looks like a bomb went off in here.”
The driver of the truck, Juan P. Cavazos, 30, of Manchester, Iowa, was taken by ambulance to UnityPoint Health-Finley Hospital for treatment of minor injuries, according to a police crash report.
The crash occurred at about 1:20 a.m. Monday. Police reported that Cavazos was driving too fast for conditions on the Locust Street connector when he lost control of his truck and traveled through the intersection. The truck hit a street sign and fire hydrant before slamming into the wall of The Southend Tap.
The report states that the truck was unoccupied when officers arrived on scene, but they spotted Cavazos walking away from the area.
Cavazos faces a charge of operating while under the influence and citations of failure to provide proof of automobile insurance, failure to maintain control of his vehicle and striking fixtures upon a highway.
Officers report that the truck sustained $5,000 worth of damage and had to be towed from the scene. Officers estimated that the damage to Southend Tap totaled $10,000 and that the damage to the Black Hills Energy gas line also was $10,000.
The report states that the roadways surrounding the bar were shut down following the crash and reopened at 6:45 a.m.
Apartments above the bar were evacuated, Fire Chief Rick Steines said, as well as residences on Bissell Lane and Jones Street.
Nicole Breitbach, community affairs manager with Black Hills, said company employees went door-to-door Monday to turn off gas services for 140 impacted customers. After all affected lines were turned off, Breitbach said, repairs would be made and the system pressure would be restored before they began relighting affected residential customers.
That process started late Monday afternoon.
Ohnesorge said the power still was out in the bar, and its popcorn and lottery machines were damaged in the crash. He and a few employees spent Monday cleaning up the dozens of liquor bottles that hit the floor.
“As of right now, we want to be back open as soon as possible, but looking at the damage inside, it could be a little bit,” he said. “... But if we got through COVID, we can get through this.”