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Drunken SV man crashes into McDonald’s

A Spring Valley man drove into the drive-thru area wall of Ellsworth's McDonald's early Friday morning. He was extremely intoxicated, and fled police on foot before he was brought to the ground. (Herald photo by Sarah Young)1 / 2
Atic P. Contento Lapo2 / 2

ELLSWORTH -- An employee at the Ellsworth McDonald’s received quite a shock when a car drove into the east side of the building early Friday morning while she was cleaning the bathrooms.

Ellsworth police were notified of the crash at about 1:32 a.m. Friday, Sept. 2 at 159 E. Main St. The complainant told police a drunk person had just hit the building near the south drive-thru window and was trying to re-start the vehicle.

McDonald’s general manager Chad Honl said the car pushed the wall inward, breaking all of the bricks. The restaurant was closed; no employees were injured.

“They (the woman cleaning) first thought the ceiling was caving in, but it was the wall,” Honl said. “The car didn’t come all the way through, but it pushed the wall in.”

When police arrived on scene, the suspect, who was wearing a black shirt, had fled on foot. Police found the man (with a long ponytail) standing on the south side of the building near the ordering kiosk. He began running westbound when he saw police. A chase on foot ensued, and finally he stopped.

He had to be ordered to the ground and smelled strongly of intoxicants. He didn’t speak English, so an Ellsworth officer fluent in Spanish was called in to translate. He was identified by an Ecuadorian identification card as Atic P. Contento Lapo, 24, of Spring Valley.

Meanwhile, the silver vehicle that he drove into the building began to smoke and leak fluid, so Ellsworth Fire was called. Fluid was traced from the field east of the building, where officers saw fresh tire tracks. They followed the tracks out to Main Street.

Through investigation, it was determined Contento Lapo had quite the ride on his way to McDonald’s. His path apparently began on North Broadway Street in the East End, where witnesses confirmed Contento Lapo had been “buying 12 packs all night” at Danny Dunn’s Bar.

The line of fluids showed Contento Lapo allegedly hit an Oldsmobile Alero near Danny Dunn’s, another vehicle and a stop sign in the East End before heading toward Main Street.

While heading west on Main Street, the vehicle crossed the center line several times, drove onto the north curb and sidewalk near 114 E. Main St., where it apparently hit a no parking sign and mailbox before driving into the vacant lot east of McDonald’s.

Contento Lapo registered a .236 blood alcohol level. He was taken to the jail after a stop at River Falls Area Hospital. Charges filed (only) in Pierce County Circuit Court Tuesday include resisting an officer, OWI-second, operate without valid license (second within three years), reckless driving - endanger safety, operating motor vehicle without insurance, driving against traffic (one way street) and  operating left of center line. He is scheduled for an initial appearance at 10 a.m. Oct. 17.

Contento Lapo also has traffic charges pending in St. Croix County Circuit Court, filed Aug. 10, of operate without valid license (second within three years), OWI-first and operating with prohibited alcohol concentration. He was scheduled to appear in St. Croix for an initial appearance at 1 p.m. Sept. 14.

Honl said McDonald’s is still gathering cost estimates to repair the building’s damage. The south drive-thru window was down temporarily Friday morning, but was up and running by that afternoon, Honl said.

Sarah Nigbor

Sarah J. Nigbor serves as a regional editor for RiverTown Multimedia, a position she began in April 2017. She joined RiverTown Multimedia in October 2013 as a news reporter for the New Richmond News, before being appointed editor of the Pierce County Herald in Febraury 2015. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Spanish and French in 2001. She completed a minor in journalism in 2004. 

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