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The Journal Gazette

  • Jamie Duffy | The Journal Gazette A temporary wall will have to built at Klemm's Candlelight Cafe on East State Boulevard before owner Chris Hoeppner can reopen his restaurant. Ashlee N. Abbott, 25, of the 2300 block of Cambridge Avenue, is accused of crashing into the building and facing several charges.

  • Abbott

Friday, March 15, 2019 1:00 am

Klemm's owner hopes to reopen soon

JAMIE DUFFY | The Journal Gazette

The owner of Klemm's Candlelight Cafe hopes to reopen next week after his restaurant was condemned because a driver plowed into it.

Owner Chris Hoeppner said he met Thursday with building engineers, architects, contractors and an insurance adjuster to assess the damage.

The beam that was hit about 3:30 a.m. Wednesday is bent but not broken, Hoeppner said.

Ashlee N. Abbott, 25, of the 2300 block of Cambridge Avenue is accused of crashing into the building. She was charged Thursday with operating a vehicle while intoxicated with a prior conviction and a misdemeanor charge for criminal mischief.

She was being held in lieu of $2,500 bond at the Allen County Jail, according to court documents.

When police arrived at the scene, they found Abbott unconscious and buckled into the driver's seat of her vehicle. She admitted that she'd been drinking but refused to say what or how much, according to a probable cause statement.

During the crash investigation, Abbott was asked if she was under the influence of alcohol or drugs and she responded that her 26-year-old passenger “gave her a shot of heroin from a syringe prior to the accident.”

Abbott was convicted last month of drunken driving in Grant County Superior Court. She pleaded guilty to operating a vehicle with an alcohol concentration of 0.15 percent or more and was placed on probation for about a year. 

The restaurant will need a temporary wall and removal of window glass in order to reopen.

“We'll have to build a temporary wall right there where the young lady went through the window,” Hoeppner said. “We'll have to see what the Board of Health wants me to do at the entrance.”

The restaurant has two other exits at the back and the kitchen, Hoeppner said.

The building was condemned for safety reasons. “They (Allen County building officials) don't want it (the beam) to crack anymore and it is not expected to,” Hoeppner said.

Hoeppner bought the restaurant 21/2 years ago and had owned Legends Sports Bar on North Clinton Street.

The sports bar received the same treatment from a driver about 20 years ago, he said.

This time, he said, “I wasn't as much surprised as I was before.”