Woman facing OWI charge after her car crashes into Klemm’s Candlelite Cafe

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FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Fort Wayne’s NBC) – A tough day for a popular cafe on East State Boulevard, after a car crashed through the front of the building.

Customers were surprised to stop at Klemm’s Candlelite Cafe Wednesday morning, only to find it condemned.

25-year old Ashlee Abbott of Columbia City now faces a charge of operating while intoxicated.

A police report quoted a witness, who said he saw Abbott roll out of the parking lot of a Marathon station just before 3:30 Wednesday morning, and instead of turning left or right on East State, just plowed straight ahead right through the front of Klemm’s.

Abbott told police she had no memory of the crash, coming clean that she was shooting heroin in the gas station parking lot and then passed out.

“My girlfriend texted me and said she thought she heard someone hit Klemm’s, and I was like I’m driving around, I’ll go see and sure enough,” Taylor Lehman told us as he laughed.

Lehman, who lives near the restaurant, is pulling for the owners to re-build.

There have been some tough times for the whole strip of businesses known as East State Village.

We counted at least a half dozen businesses nearby that re-located to other parts of town or closed altogether.

Sweet Lou’s Pizza shop and Nick’s Martini and Wine Bar are among those now shut down.

Jonathan Friddle, who has been running a barbershop in the area for 13 years, has taken note of the closures and doesn’t want to see more dominoes fall.

“State Street has been so good for the City of Fort Wayne. It’s sad to see people leave, but hopefully we can bring people in here that want to stay here for awhile and be good to go,” Friddle said.

We reached out to the owners of Klemm’s Candlelite Cafe for comment, but at the time of this report, no one had responded to say whether they plan to re-build or not.

A car crashed into Klemm’s Candlelite Cafe Thursday morning. March 13, 2019.


Kayla Crandall

Kayla Crandall

Kayla Crandall is the Social Media and Digital Content Manager at Fort Wayne's NBC. She also serves as the weekend producer on NBC.

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