A Belle Plaine man, identified as Eldrid Karnitz, 94, drove his Chevrolet Equinox roughly 20 feet into Hardware Hank (located at Ag Parners) on Friday afternoon, April 5.
No one, including Karnitz, was injured, but a store associate standing behind a cash register, about five to 10 feet from the vehicle, witnessed the vehicle enter the building. There were customers in the store at the time of the accident, but no one was in the path of the vehicle, according to representatives from Ag Partners.
Responders from Belle Plaine’s fire and police departments were on the scene, along with Scott Haas, director of emergency management and communications for Scott County, and an ambulance.
Ag Partners representatives tentatively planned to close for the weekend, hoping to open on Monday, but they were able to clear the damage and reopen on Saturday. A review from the building’s contractor indicated that the damage did not threaten the structural integrity of the building. Karnitz was driven home by a third party and was cited for failure to drive with due care.
On social media, Karnitz’s son, Rodney, stated that his dad will not be driving anymore and that his physical limitations caused by advanced years, versus any cognitive limitations, were a likely cause for the incident.
“It will be a big adjustment for him not driving. But he cannot do it again,” Rodney wrote on Facebook.