Pickup plows into RV lot; driver hurt

Register Reporter

Register/Richard Luken
Emergency crews survey damage following a pickup accident at the R & R Sales lot in east Iola Tuesday. The driver of the pickup, Gary D. Pierson, plowed into a pair of recreational vehicles at the sales lot. Pierson was taken to Allen County Hospital.

Who knew that stationary objects were so conducive to traffic accidents during the lunch hour.
For the second straight day, an out-of-control pickup was involved in an accident involving otherwise immobile objects.
Tuesday’s accident shortly after noon took place at Barnett Landscaping and R & R Sales, along the 1300 block of East Street, when a pickup driven by Gary D. Pierson, LaHarpe, rolled across both properties.
The pickup sideswiped a canopy pole before barrelling through a fence and scattering hundreds of small plants at Barnett, then clipping one recreational vehicle and crashing into the side of another at the R & R sales lot. The impact of the second collision knocked the RV into the side of a 1994 Ford Escort.
Pierson was transported to Allen County Hospital.
“I heard the truck as it hit the pole at Barnett’s,” said Joy Riebel, who co-owns R & R with Dale Rouse. “I turned around just as he was hitting the second RV.”
“Those are 12,000-pound trailers,” Rouse added. “He was gunning it pretty good.”
Rouse said Pierson apparently blacked out before the accident.
“He was pretty shaken up about it,” Rouse said.
“Had I been at work, my truck would have been parked right here,” Wayne Barnett said, while pointing to a spot where Pierson’s tire tracks skidded across the concrete driveway. “My truck would have been demolished.”
Despite the damage — Barnett figures he lost anywhere between 400 and 500 perennials, while Rouse’s damage estimates were placed at nearly $60,000 — both business owners said some good fortune was involved.
“We’re lucky there wasn’t anybody walking by the lot, particularly at that time of day,” Rouse said. “They’re always walking by on their way to A & W or Jump Start for lunch.”
Barnett, meanwhile, noted that Pierson’s pickup easily could have careened back into traffic along East Street.
“This could have been a whole lot worse,” Barnett said.
The accident came one day after a Westphalia man plowed his pickup into the Colony post office.
In all three cases, the businesses remained open.
“We need to figure out where to go from here,” Riebel said. “One of the RVs was destroyed, and we’re waiting to find out about the second one. It’ll probably take eight weeks at least to get them replaced, and this is our busy season.”