Northeast Minneapolis’ River Liquor Store isn’t a drive-through, but a motorist sure made it one Saturday afternoon.
A minivan smashed through the business’ brick wall, mowing down 80 feet of shelving home to the store’s most expensive liquor — the scotch and whiskey.
The male driver had only minor scrapes and no one inside was injured, authorities said.
“It was very, very lucky and fortunate,” said shop owner Robert Marget, who was standing with a clerk on the other side of the building. “It was good timing.”
Another employee would have been in the danger zone with two shopping carts full of wine, he said, but had left to get new tires put on his car.
At 1:15 p.m. Saturday, the van plowed through the wall after driving over the Lowry Bridge. Marget said he rushed to check on the driver, who had a cut on his face. The driver told Marget that someone had “cut him off” and that he feared going to jail because he didn’t have a license or proper insurance. Then, he took off running.
Police caught the suspect about four blocks away and took him to Hennepin County Medical Center. Alcohol does not appear to have been a factor in the crash, said police spokeswoman Sgt. Catherine Michal.
River Liquor Store was supposed to celebrate its 70th anniversary this year, but will instead need some major renovations. Until then, workers are assessing the damage — Marget estimates upward of $150,000 — which has left a gaping hole in the wall, broken windows, and exposed cinder blocks and threatened the structural integrity of the roof.
Hundreds of broken bottles litter the floor and “the entire carpet is just like a lake,” he said. That section has been taped off and will be boarded up.
Despite the mess, the doors remained open Saturday. “We have bills to pay,” Marget said.