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Published: Monday, 7/24/2006

3 diners injured as driver slams car into Denny's

The exterior of the Denny's restaurant in Rossford after a car crashed through the front of the building. The exterior of the Denny's restaurant in Rossford after a car crashed through the front of the building.

Three women were hurt, one seriously, when an allegedly intoxicated driver slammed his car into their booth at Denny's restaurant in Rossford yesterday, police said.

Karen Truesdale, 63, of Cridersville, Ohio, was in serious condition at St. Vincent Mercy Medical Center after the 5:30 a.m. crash. Vivian Hines, 68, of Elida, and Barb Markward, 62, of Lima, were treated and released from the hospital.

The driver, Joshua Dorfmeyer, 24, of Rossford, was arrested and charged with aggravated vehicular assault and tampering with evidence. He was being held in the Wood County jail on a $40,000 bond pending arraignment today in Perrysburg Municipal Court, police said.

Sgt. Brian Cranny said Mr. Dorfmeyer was pulling into a space in the parking lot, intending to go to the restaurant at 1122 Buck Rd. He told police his foot became caught under a pedal and he hit the gas instead of the brake.

The car went through the front wall of the building and hit the booth where the women and three others were sitting, the sergeant said.

Sergeant Cranny said the six people were on their way to Chicago via Amtrak, but because of a long delay with the train, they decided to get something to eat at the restaurant.

Mr. Dorfmeyer, who was not hurt, had a blood alcohol level of 0.185, more than twice the legal limit.

The tampering-with-evidence charge was filed after witnesses said he swallowed some contents of a marijuana pipe he had with him and threw the pipe across the street, the sergeant said.

A woman who answered the phone at the restaurant said the business was closed and she did not know when it would reopen.

A corporate statement released later in the day indicated that the restaurant will remain closed until repairs can be completed and it is safe to reopen.

The statement said, in part, "Our hearts go out to the guests who were seriously injured when a car crashed into our restaurant," and added that the business is cooperating with authorities in the investigation.

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