'The counter was coming at me'

Becky Vargo • Aug 23, 2017 at 10:26 AM

Roger Jeske said he was glad no one was seriously hurt when a car smashed through his business Wednesday morning.

Jeske’s wife, Millie, suffered minor injuries when a vehicle drove through a wall at Jeske Pools & Spas, 225 N. Ferry St., shortly before 10 a.m. Emergency crews responded to the scene when the owner reported a car hit the building and someone inside the building was hurt.

“I was right here,” Roger said, pointing to the dumpster. “I saw the lady pull in.”

Roger said he was walking toward the back of the property when he heard the busting and cracking sounds and his wife screaming. He rushed back, saw Millie on the ground and called 911.

“I was sitting at the computer,” Millie said. “Roger had just walked out of there.”

Millie said she heard a noise, and “all of a sudden the counter was coming at me.”

Millie reached out for the other counter only to see it go flying. She said something hit her and she fell to the floor. 

She was lying there in a daze and could hear the women in the car saying her name and apologizing to her.

Later, once she realized she wasn’t badly injured, Millie said she felt sorry for the women.

The driver of the car, 39-year-old Melody Pierce of Ferrysburg, said she had just obtained her learner’s permit to drive a car. She said she hit the car’s accelerator pedal instead of the brake.

“I feel so bad,” she said.

Neither Pierce nor the passenger who owned the car were injured.

“I’m not mad,” Millie said. “That’s just what it was — an accident.”

An ambulance transported Millie to North Ottawa Community Hospital following the incident. She was quickly assessed by a doctor in the emergency room and told she could leave as long as her own doctor checked her out in the next couple of days.

She was back at the business in the afternoon, observing the cleanup before the car was even removed from the building. She watched as employees sifted through the debris, saving paperwork, while others picked up pieces of building and put them in the dumpster.


“Even though it hurts like crazy, I feel pretty lucky that I flew out of the way, considering how bad everything was damaged,” Millie said.

City building inspector Phil Brummel told the owner that the building had to be stabilized before the car could be removed.

John Rycenga, a friend of the Jeskes, was there with the supplies and equipment to help.

“Thank God for friends like John Rycenga,” Millie said. “He was here in minutes after Roger called him.”

Once the car was removed and the building supported with new uprights and a header, employees were allowed back in to start the cleanup. An insurance agent was also on the scene.

Roger Jeske said he has owned the business at the Ferry Street location since 1989.

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