RED WING — A 28-year-old Red Wing man faces DWI and property damage charges after authorities said his vehicle collided with Liberty's Restaurant and Lounge overnight, causing part of the historic downtown building to collapse.
Donovan Brady Plank was booked into the Goodhue County Detention Center on charges of first-degree criminal damage to property and third-degree driving while impaired, according to a city news release Thursday afternoon, Sept. 3.
Plank was treated on the scene and transported to Mayo Clinic Health System in Red Wing for further assessment before being booked into jail, the news release states.
Authorities were responding to a call to remove an unwanted person on 21st Street around 9:43 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 2, when an officer encountered an SUV moving at a high rate of speed northbound on Bush Street. The officer turned around in time to see the vehicle drive pass the stop sign at Fourth and Plum and turn left onto Third Street. The officer then saw a dust cloud and debris at the intersection of Third and Plum where the vehicle collided with Liberty's Restaurant.
Red Wing Fire Department searched the damaged building including the upstairs apartments. No one inside was injured.
Red Wing's building inspector condemned the building due to the extent of the structural damage, according to the news release. A structural engineer will conduct an analysis to determine repair, rehabilitation or demolition options.
Mayor Sean Dowse and Red Wing City Council in a statement thanked the responding agencies.
“Liberty’s Restaurant is a Red Wing landmark," Dowse said. "The city of Red Wing will do all it can to ensure that this legacy restaurant will be back in business as soon as possible.”
Marie Krebsbach, owner of Marie’s Underground Grill and Tap House, witnessed the crash. She was sitting on the patio in front of her restaurant with one of her employees after work when they heard sirens approaching.
“There was a car with three girls in it, stopped at the stop sign, and this car swerved to go around and lost control and ran into the building,” Krebsbach said. “We got up to go over there, and some of the bricks from above the Liberty's sign fell down. Then more of the building fell down.”
She said the girls in the car pulled over to the side of the road and were pretty frightened. She said police arrived on the scene quickly.
Krebsbach said she still can’t believe no one was hurt. And she said she feels sorry for the owners of Liberty's.
"It has been such a difficult year for all businesses with COVID, and now to have this happen. It’s just terrible.”
Patty Brown with Red Wing Area Chamber of Commerce said Friday the community stands behind Liberty's.
"Our thoughts and prayers are with Doug and Becky and their entire team and their tenants as they move ahead," Brown said. "They have tremendous support in our community and we will all work together to make the best of this situation.”
American Red Cross volunteers assisted five displaced adults who live in apartments above the restaurant, according to a news release Thursday.
A detour was set up for traffic on Highway 58 and the Highway 63 slip ramp, according to Minnesota Department of Transportation. Traffic traveling on the Red Wing Bridge from Wisconsin into Red Wing are being routed on the buttonhook ramp to Highway 61.
According to MnDOT:
"Motorists using Hwy 58 (Plum Street) north should turn left at West Fourth Street and then right on East Street to Hwy 61. Semitrailers using Hwy 58 north coming into Red Wing, should turn right on Goodhue County Road 21 (Flower Valley Road) to Hwy 61, where they can then turn north to go to Red Wing or turn south to travel toward Lake City.
It’s uncertain how long the detour will last. Authorities are assessing the damage of the building and will make a determination on what will be done to keep the public safe."
This story was updated 10 a.m. Sept. 4, 2020.