Watervliet business cleaning up after semi crashes into it

Crash at Lane Automotive in Watervliet // Photo courtesy of police

A Watervliet business is cleaning up after a semi drove into a building. When first responders walked up to the scene, a truck was stuck two-thirds of the way into the Lane Automotive Warehouse building.

Officials said the driver and passenger are fortunate to have walked away, but right now customers are also affected.

“I can't imagine people being in those offices. So it could've been in a real tragedy," said Watervliet Fire Department Chief Dan Jones.

It happened early Thursday morning when police say a truck driver fell asleep at the wheel and went off the highway at mile marker 41. Tire marks still show where the wheels left the road.

"It was a big deal. It's not often you have a semi almost entirely penetrate into a building. Even as I sit here right now, I have no idea how they got out of there," Jones said.

The driver and passenger were walking away from the wreckage when Watervliet Fire Chief Dan Jones arrived. Berrien County Officials say the driver was cited for careless driving.

The drivers were helped by a Lane Automotive worker after the crash.

Thursday, some cars dotted the distribution parking lot, but a Facebook message warned some workers not to report to work today.

It's still unclear how the company, which supplies performance car parts, will be impacted.

Jones says what's left of the damage is a lesson on safe driving.

“They were very fortunate,” Jones said.

First Shift Distribution Center employees were set to report at their normal hours. A Facebook message indicates short-term service interruptions are expected for customers. The driver and passenger were treated at Lakeland Hospital for minor injuries.

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