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TMCNet:  Landmark eatery damaged in car crash

[November 16, 2012]

Landmark eatery damaged in car crash

Nov 16, 2012 (Odessa American - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- As Geno and Doni Crews walked through Norma's Cafe Thursday morning, the two owners are still able to easily identify each broken booth and table with their regular morning customers.

The restaurant has been reduced to a pile of rubble that includes chairs, tables, and bricks, and Geno Crews said because of the severity of the damage, he hopes to be able to reopen by the beginning of 2013.

"It's just going to be a long process," he said.

Of course the owners never prepared for the call they got early Thursday morning after members of the Odessa Police Department told them a pick-up truck had gone through the brick wall into their business. Other noticeable damage to the building included several cracks along the brick wall, a large hole that has since been covered by a tarp and damage to the inside wall and ceiling.

Twenty-eight-year-old Hector Raul Montoya, 514 Whitaker Ave., was charged Thursday with a class 'A' misdemeanor of driving while intoxicated in connection with the accident, police spokeswoman Cpl. Sherrie Carruth said. Ector County Detention Law Enforcement records state Montoya had a blood alcohol content greater than 0.15 and Carruth said Montoya has a previous conviction of driving while intoxicated. As of Monday morning, no bond had been set.

Police received a call about a reckless driver Thursday around 2:37 a.m. about a 2008 Ford F-150 that collided with two trash Dumpsters in the 200 block of East Fifth St. before finally colliding with the wall of Norma's, Carruth said.

When officers arrived at the scene, they found Montoya "passed out" behind the steering wheel and was checked by medics after waking up, Carruth said.

Geno Crews said when he first got the call he was told there was structural damage to the restaurant.

"I thought they broke the window because it's happened before" Geno Crews said.

As their regular customers started to stop by later in the morning, Doni Crews said many had offered to help in any way that they could to get the restaurant fixed. Though the restaurant is temporarily closed, Doni said she spent the morning baking a few cakes that had been ordered in advance.

Despite the incident, the husband and wife remained in high spirits, saying the incident wasn't going to slow them down. Geno said he had already spoken with insurance agents, and hoped to get construction started as soon as he could.

"We can't let this get us down," he said. "We will be back as soon as we can." --Contact Nathaniel Miller on twitter at @OAgovernment, on Facebook at OA Nathaniel Miller or call 432-333-7769 ___ (c)2012 the Odessa American (Odessa, Texas) Visit the Odessa American (Odessa, Texas) at Distributed by MCT Information Services

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