Traffic collision leads to Rio Gabriel damage
By MIKE EDDLEMAN
Rio Gabriel Liquors sustained major damage Thursday after a collision on SH 29 sent a vehicle through the front of the building.
No one in the store was injured, and Manager Teresa Garner’s sister Jackie Wilburn was the only person in the store at the time.
“She had just left the front aisle and was servicing a customer at the drive through window,” Garner said. “They heard the noise and the customer yelled something to her and she hit the ground at the moment the vehicle hit the window. She was shaken up but not injured.”
According to Liberty Hill Police chief Royce Graeter, one vehicle was westbound on SH 29 as another vehicle entered from CR 214, and struck the westbound vehicle. The Westbound vehicle then veered to the left, crossing lanes of traffic, and left the highway, coming to rest after striking the front of the store. The store was damaged substantially and the drivers sustained minor injuries, but no one else was injured.
“It’s a small shop,” Garner said. “as far as our inventory, and some shelving, it looks to be anywhere from a 30 to 50 percent loss. That’s just from being able to walk in the door initially and try to survey some. It pretty much took out the first shelf right inside the wall and most of the second shelf, reaching even into the back shelf. There is definitely damage throughout.”
Garner was just grateful no one was critically injured in the incident.
“It’s just broken bottles at this point,” she said. “The drivers both sustained some injuries, but what was lost in the store is replaceable. Every bottle is replaceable and I’ve spoken with our vendors and they’re all stepping up and telling us to let them know when we’re ready and they said they’d shoot us a delivery.”
The building is owned by the owners of Mojo Coffee, and Garner said they were quick to react to help get the building repaired and safe.
“They have already had an engineer come check for stability of the building and they’re getting bids on repairs, so hopefully the ball is moving very quickly,” she said.
Rio Gabriel has contracted for clean up work due to the amount of broken glass.
“We’re hoping to be back in the tore Monday to start clean up and inventory for insurance purposes, and fingers crossed we might could be open at the drive through by Thursday or Friday. We’re going to have to really get after it when we get in there, but that’s alright.”
Garner hopes to reopen soon and said the staff was lifted by the outpouring of support from the community after the incident.
“We have amazing customers who came throughout the day Thursday and wished us well,” she said. “We can’t wait to be open for them and having them here for us at the same time is great.”