Mill Street Diner owner and operator Tommy Perrigo is back in the kitchen after crashing into a Taco Bell on Labor Day.
Perrigo, 54, said he doesn’t remember much before Thursday morning, but that the doctors say he had a mild heart attack and lost consciousness behind the wheel, sending him into the restaurant on State Highway 121 Business.
Perrigo said his chest is sore from banging into either the airbag or the steering wheel, but other than that, his wounds are skin-deep. Fire department captain Delane Graham said the Taco Bell suffered heavy damage, but the two employees inside were unharmed.
The fast food restaurant remained closed as of the morning of Sept. 11.
Graham said he and his team had to remove additional material from the building to open the passenger door and rescue Perrigo, and they had to shut down water and electricity to the building. Graham said that cars run into buildings a lot and that he goes on two or three similar calls a year.
“It happens. It happens a lot,” he said. “People lose control of their vehicle or don’t maintain control for whatever reason, and sometimes the building is what stops them. It’s just one of those things that we have to do.”
Perrigo said he totaled his ‘99 Lexus SE, which he got just a few days beforehand. He said he is expecting legal action from Taco Bell. He said he appreciates the customers’ concern and is thankful that his injuries are mostly skin-deep.
Perrigo said getting back to work for his customers and employees was the most important thing to him.
“This business is fickle. You close the doors on a restaurant for a few days, and those customers go somewhere else,” he said. “I’ve got a lot of good people who need an income, and for me to close these doors for any amount of time, it hurts them.”