Cafe reopens after crash

Posted: Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Business was slower than usual at the Kaladi Brothers Coffee Company cafe on the Sterling Highway yesterday after Sunday's accident that sent a pickup truck through the front windows.

Store manager Amy White said a temporary wall has allowed the shop to open, but many customers thought the business was closed.

Soldotna police are still investigating Sunday's collision in which a 2001 Toyota pickup driven by Alan Vanhorne plowed through the storefront. Police said Vanhorne, 72, was driving from the Safeway parking lot and attempted to park in front of the cafe. Two men inside the coffee shop, Brian Barta and Keith Nichols, were injured in the collision. Nichols, 57, was flown to Anchorage for medical treatment. Barta, 67, received treatment at the Central Peninsula Hospital. Vanhorne came away uninjured.

Alcohol did not play a role in the crash, according to police.

Batir Construction owner Doug Baxter, who is repairing Kaladi's, said that the truck "cratered" the partition wall between the cafe and Subway shop next door.

Baxter said that his crew erected 20 feet of temporary wall to separate the work space from the construction repair area. He estimated that the collision caused an estimated $30,000 damage. Construction will probably end in a week or so.

Vanhorne's truck damaged a structurally integral bearing header when it punched through the storefront. Central Emergency Services kept the header up during the accident. Baxter said that he had to re-install king studs and trimmers onto the header before the shop opened.

Tony Cella can be reached at

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