Local cleaners damaged in vehicle crash

Officers from the Platteville Police Department responded to a call from a fellow officer who came across the damage at 250 W. Main St. at 4:13 a.m., according to the police department.

“I got a call from the police a little after 4 a.m.,” Platteville Cleaners’ owner Tim Koeller said. “When you’re getting a call at that time of day, you know it’s not going to be good.”

A trail of debris leading away from Cleaners led to an abandoned Chevy pickup, the police department said.  No injured persons were found upon searching the area surrounding the vehicle and it was towed from the area.

The police department later discovered that the vehicle belonged to Morgan A. Baxter, 19, who was cited for failure to notify police of an accident, hit and run, underage operation of a vehicle with a blood alcohol content greater than zero percent, and underage drinking, according to the police department.

Koeller said the police department asked him to come and secure the building and that there was some shattered glass.

“The whole wall was gone,” Koeller said. “Needless to say, I was shocked.”

Customers’ shirts, a drape machine, utility press, basket and an iron were damaged in the accident, Koeller said.

Since the incident, Koeller has removed the debris and built an insulated wall to replace the now destroyed glass bay window.  The quick fix allowed for Koeller to have Cleaners running the day after the accident and remain open.

“We’re getting by,” Koeller said.  “We’ve had to send on the drapes to someone else, but we haven’t lost much business.”

Scott Redfern, the manager of neighboring business Spirits Unlimited, said this incident was the first time he knew of a business along the block being damaged in such a way.

“This was the first time anything like this has happened,” said Koeller, who opened the business in 1984.  “I hope it’s the last.”

Despite the affect it has had on his life and business, Koeller focuses on the important issues.

“The big thing is that no one was injured on this end,” Koeller said.  “If it was during business hours, we have someone right there.  They’d have been seriously hurt.  The machines and the equipment can be fixed and replaced.”

At the printing of this article, Koeller is still awaiting an estimate as to how much it will cost to fully repair the building and equipment therein.