Above: Hill-Top Creamery – closed until further notice. Photo by Dana Gee
A new driver hit the gas instead of the brake; no one was injured
Cindy Hoernle was inside Hill-Top Creamery Tuesday afternoon with one of the employees talking about what ice cream they had on hand that day when they heard an enormous crashing sound.
“The sound of it – the car coming through – was incredible,” Hoernle recounted Wednesday while waiting outside the building for an insurance adjuster to arrive. She and her husband, Rick Hoernle, own the business. The stand’s founders, Ed and Kay McDonough, own the building. Fortunately, Hoernle and the staffer were the only two inside and they had just moved from the wall where the car hit to a room in the middle of the building where a lot of the ice cream is stored.
“I just kept thinking, ‘Oh my God, nobody got hurt. Nobody outside, nobody inside.’ The man who was in the car with his daughter was at the window saying, ‘Are you OK?’ So I knew they were OK.”
The car that rammed the building had been driven by a young woman new to driving, Hoernle said. Her father was in the passenger seat. The vehicle jumped the curb that marks the parking lot-picnic table boundary, and smashed a picnic table into the building, causing significant but not structural damage.
“The good thing was, it was only 2 o’clock. We didn’t have the busy afternoon crowd,” she said, her voice faltering. “It’s still very emotional for me because we could have had kids – we could have had some kids really get hurt. We could have gotten hurt.”
For now, the business is closed until further notice though Hoernle hopes they can reopen in May. Many people have reached out offering help. She said she and her husband are grateful for the offers but said they didn’t need the help.
“The insurance companies are taking care of everything.” Hoernle said she was sorry about the young people who work for the ice cream stand. The shop only reopened for the season last weekend.
“These kids have worked for me, some for five years. This is their college money.”