A semi crashing into Americana Pizza last April led to extensive renovations that closed the Centerville eatery for nearly eight months.

Then, less than three weeks after Americana’s Dec. 11 reopening, another vehicle collided with the west side of the pizzeria and caused damage.  

That wreck took place at about 12:07 p.m. Dec. 30, despite a “Stop: Please Park Outside” sign that owners had added to Americana’s exterior. 

No one inside Americana was injured in the latest crash, and the suspect, driving a newer model Dodge Ram four-door pickup, left the scene. 

The eatery at 215 E. Main St. remained open for business despite damage to a brick wall and a window that is bowed in. Centerville Police Chief Ed Buchholz estimated the repairs at a minimum of $5,000.

On Jan. 4, Buchholz said they found their suspect through collaboration with area police departments and the community.   

As Centerville Police Department and Americana owners shared surveillance images, they received several community tips and assistance from Connersville Police Department’s Detective Division that led to the discovery of the suspect, a Fayette County resident.   

Buchholz described the driver as an older male accompanied by an older female. After striking the building, the truck fled and was last seen southbound on South Second. 

Before stopping at the eatery, the driver pumped gas at the Village Pantry station down the block. The passenger entered the convenience store and paid cash for the fuel.

Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office is reviewing the case for possible charges, Buchholz said.

CPD and Americana’s owners Chad and Jennifer Robertson have had to deal with three vehicle incidents at the business in about a year. 

The most serious crash was at 12:12 p.m. April 26 when a semi entered the restaurant. An eastbound U.S. 40 driver from Georgia told police he sneezed, collided with a tree and then into Americana. He and a customer reported minor injuries. 

A few months earlier, a juvenile driver’s foot slipped off the brakes and went to the gas pedal.

Americana’s exterior had just been repainted the previous week after that accident, and some work remained to restore the interior, when the semi caused more damage in April.

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A version of this article appeared in the January 10 2024 print edition of the Western Wayne News.

Millicent Martin Emery is a reporter and editor for the Western Wayne News.