The driver of a tractor-trailer rig most likely suffered a medical episode before he crashed into Tony Packo‘s at Front and Consaul streets Friday in East Toledo, authorities said.
Jim Schlievert, an accident reconstructionist with the Toledo Police Department, said the man died at Mercy St. Vincent Medical Center, where he was transported after the 7:15 a.m. crash. His name has not been released.
The driver was heading eastbound on Front St., when witnesses say he went through a green light and collided with the building. There were no signs of the driver applying the brakes before the collision.
"It looks like it was medically related," Officer Schlievert said about the cause of the crash. "But we still need to confirm that with the coroner."
Sgt. Kevin Braun said officials believe he may have suffered a heart attack.
No one was inside the building at the time of the crash.
"Our crews reported on scene and immediately took control of the scene," Toledo Fire Lt. Matthew Hertzfeld said. "They did have to extricate the individual in the truck. It took about 20 minutes to be able to do that."
Lt. Hertzfeld said there was significant structural damage to the front of the building.
Tony Packo, Jr., who was at the scene early today, said that since any damage appears to be to the exterior, he was hopeful that Packo’?s would “resume business very shortly.” The semi went through the front and into the bar area of the restaurant. Mr. Packo is operational manager of the company along with Tony Packo III.
“There‘s no gas leak, we still have power, everything like that, it’?s just cleaning it up and getting it together,” said Packo‘s employee Daneille Hartford.
Crews remain at the scene.
Jason Kendall, who lives on nearby Fremont St., said he was out on his bike when he saw a group of police cars by the restaurant. "I just thought that the semi truck had been pulled over when I first saw it," he said.
Krista Sweeney, a Packo's employee, said she received numerous calls this morning about the incident. Ms. Sweeney is scheduled to work this evening, but was unsure if she would be able to report for her shift.
The building has been the home of Packo‘s for more than 80 years. Tony Packo opened an sandwich and ice cream shop at Consaul and Genesee streets in the early 1930s, but soon after created a sausage-on-a-roll sandwich with a secret meat sauce in the early 1930 - the birth of the company's famous Hungarian hot dog.
He moved the business into the Birmingham site at Consaul and Front streets in 1936.
"It's special to our neighborhood," Mr. Kendall said of the iconic restaurant. "It's the one and only, the original thing."
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