John Beise's 1941 Chevy farm truck had survived a lot of rain, sun, snow and sleet in its 76 years and was still chugging along just fine.
Until Thursday night, that is, when a suspected drunken driver went airborne near Beise's Mound home, crashing into the vintage Chevy and totaling it. The driver's vehicle, a 2017 Mercedes, landed on its side, on top of Beise's '84 plow truck — also totaled. Both vehicles were in Beise's driveway, a good 30 feet from the 30 mile-per-hour roadway.
Beise thinks the driver must have been doing more like 50 mph.
"When she hit the berm behind my mailbox, that's 25 to 30 feet," Beise said. "She never touched the driveway. She hit the '41 above the bumper so she was at least 2 or 3 feet off the ground when she made impact."
The noise of the 10:30 p.m. crash woke neighbors on Tuxedo Boulevard and knocked out the Beises' power. By the time Beise got outside, first responders were already on the way. He didn't talk to the driver or her passenger, but neither suffered life-threatening injuries.
When Beise saw her, the driver was headed across the street to talk to police. The Orono Police Department, which patrols Mound, said on its Facebook page that a 41-year-old woman was arrested for drunken driving.
"We shouldn't have to do these reminders, but after three DWI arrests last night, I guess we do," the Orono PD's post said Friday. "Please find a sober ride home if out drinking. There will be extra law enforcement out on the roads specifically looking for impaired drivers."
While most pickups of that vintage were scrapped long ago or are rusting in farm fields, Beise's bright red, half-ton, four-speed pickup was fully licensed and insured and still perfectly road-worthy.
The truck even had a bit of celebrity: It had appeared on the front page of a Target sales flier, been in photo shoots and had a role in a 1995 movie called "And the Earth Did Not Swallow Him," about migrant farmworkers in the '50s.
It had been in the family since grandpa Bud Kettenacker bought it in 1952. Bud used it daily in the 1970s to get to and from his job with the Great Northern Railroad.
The truck went back and forth between Bud and his son, Jerry Kettenacker, in Montana until Beise bought it from his uncle in 1987. He'd replaced the worn-out bench seat with bucket seats and added whitewall tires.
Beise, 48, a real estate agent with ReMax Advantage Plus, planned to restore it someday. He just hadn't found the time or the garage space, he said Sunday.
Now, the '41 and the Chevy plow truck will likely be hauled away for scrap. Insurance adjusters are due out Monday or Tuesday, Beise said.
"I know it is silly, but it has been a part of our family for 65 years and has been extra special since my grandpa passed away a few years ago," Beise wrote on his Facebook page.