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Police say a bout of coughing played a role in an RCMP officer slamming his vehicle into a Mount Stewart restaurant.
RCMP Staff Sgt. Kevin Baillie said the officer was responding to a call around 4 p.m. on Nov. 28 when he lost control of the force’s 2013 Chevrolet pick-up truck. The officer struck a parked vehicle than crashed into Laurie’s Country Kitchen.
Baillie said police were relieved that no one, including the officer, was injured in the incident.
The unusual collision is under investigation.
“All of our accidents (involving officers) are investigated internally,’’ said Baillie.
Restaurant owner Wally Steele said the collision caused substantial damage to his business, breaking a wooden corner post, smashing a couple of windows and damaging panelling inside the restaurant.
A car belonging to a waitress also received considerable damage.
Baillie said there was a “fair bit’’ of damage to the RCMP truck, which ironically was set to be replaced in just one month.
“I don’t think there will be any question that (the RCMP) are responsible (for the damages),’’ he said.
Steele said there were no customers in the restaurant at the time of the collision.
“It’s very fortunate because probably two hours after that the place is full,’’ said Steele.
He said a cook and a waitress were in the restaurant when the officer slammed the truck into the building, but both were a good distance from where the vehicle struck the business.
The pair heard a big bang, said Steele.
“They ran outside and basically they were kind of in shock for a minute because it is the last thing you would expect (to see),’’ he said.
The owner, who was not at the restaurant when the collision occurred, was also caught off guard when he learned about the incident.
“I was kind of surprised,’’ said Steele. “That’s the last thing you expect to have happen.’’
Steele was still able to see some humour in the bizarre incident.
He quipped that “as a rule’’ Laurie’s Country Kitchen does not offer drive thru service.
He said he does feel for the RCMP officer who crashed the truck into the restaurant, speculating the cop might have been ripe for ribbing by fellow officers.
“I wouldn’t think his day went very well when he got back there (to the detachment).’’