Papa Baldy’s Pizza worker Daniel Knorr (Photo by LANA MICHELIN/Advocate staff).

Red Deer pizza restaurant deliberately smashed by truck

Two employees have minor injuries, police investigating

A pickup truck smashed through the window of a Red Deer pizzeria, hitting the front counter with such force that two employees were sent flying, said a fellow staffer.

Daniel Knorr said the gas-powered oven at Papa Baldy’s Pizza restaurant in West Park was also jogged by the collision. Luckily the gas line wasn’t severed, “otherwise the whole place could have blown.”

A cashier and pizza prep worker were inside the 57th Avenue restaurant when the crash happened, at about 9:05 p.m. Thursday — along with the cashier’s husband.

The employees sustained minor injuries, including bruising, but “they’re sure hurting today,” said Knorr, a delivery driver who wasn’t in the outlet during the incident.

But a big bang and the sound of shattered glass was heard in neighbouring businesses.

Red Deer RCMP, along with the General Investigation Section, are investigating what appears to be an intentional collision, according to the findings of a preliminary investigation.

“All efforts are being made to solve this crime and we are looking for public tips,” said Staff Sgt. Jeff McBeth.

The truck is described as a black Dodge Ram, loaded with concrete in the rear box. It sustained damage to the rear end. Anyone with information is asked to call 403-343-5575.

According to witnesses and surveillance camera footage, the truck backed up at full speed from one end of the parking lot straight into the restaurant’s front window.

“I don’t know what would drive someone to put people’s lives in danger,” said Knorr, who doesn’t know of any personal disputes that could have led to such an attack. He described the working atmosphere as “like a family.”

This is the second major blow to the pizzeria’s owner, known as Mama Baldy, or Eileen. Knorr said her husband, Papa Baldy, died suddenly in October.

While the owner was too upset to talk on Friday morning, Knorr said she was just getting through her grief and starting to build up the business that employs 12 people when this happens. “The whole thing is horrible,” he added.

Although Knorr believes the owner was insured, he doesn’t know when, or if, the restaurant will reopen.

Customers, who work at other businesses in the same strip mall, say the popular pizzeria was in the process of expanding into the empty bay next door. They hope it will reopen soon. “It has great product,” said Lee Anne Briggs, a grocery clerk. “It would be a shame to let something like this stop her.”

At the same time, Briggs noted the deliberate collision indicates “somebody does not want them open for business.”

“I’m appalled, and really sad for them. They’ve been through a lot,” said pharmacy clerk Danette Purdy. Co-worker Brooke Ranger said, the incident makes her angry; “Two people could have lost their lives.”

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter


Surveillance image of pickup truck. (Contributed by Red Deer RCMP).

Just Posted

One strong wind leaves years of replanting work for Red Deer parks staff

High visibility boulevards already replanted, neighbourhood work starts next year

Red Deer-area indigenous filmmakers invited to apply for $20,000 grant

Storyhive launches Indigenous Storyteller Edition

Restaurant closed after compliance team patrol

Public Safety Compliance Team checked eight bars and restaurants on Oct. 19

Red Deerians await local cannabis stores

So far 31 stores in Alberta awarded licence to operate

Rimbey RCMP seek missing man with health concerns

Has anyone seen Bill Harris of Ponka County?

WATCH: Make-A-Wish grants Star Wars loving teen’s wish

The Make-A-Wish Foundation granted Anakin Suerink’s wish in Red Deer Saturday afternoon

Local Sports: Rudy Soffo valuable to Kings on the court

When Rudy Soffo first saw the RDC basketball Kings roster he was… Continue reading

Except for 1 kick, Saints, Ravens are evenly matched

BALTIMORE — In a matchup between the league’s highest-scoring offence and top-ranked… Continue reading

Julia Louis-Dreyfus gets a top award for comedy

WASHINGTON — After a 35-year acting career and with two iconic television… Continue reading

Ricky Skaggs, Dottie West enter Country Music Hall of Fame

NASHVILLE — Bluegrass and country star Ricky Skaggs, singer Dottie West and… Continue reading

AP Exclusive: Stephen Hawking’s wheelchair, thesis for sale

LONDON — Stephen Hawking was a cosmic visionary, a figure of inspiration… Continue reading

Canada deemed U.S. a safe country for asylum seekers after internal review

OTTAWA — Canadian immigration officials have determined that the United States remains… Continue reading

Bombardier sues Mitsubishi over alleged theft of aircraft trade secrets

MONTREAL — Bombardier is suing Mitsubishi Aircraft in the United States over… Continue reading

Three strong earthquakes reported in Pacific Ocean off Vancouver Island

Three relatively strong earthquakes were recorded Sunday night in the Pacific Ocean… Continue reading

Most Read