Demolished cars, damaged building

Spectators and customers gather at the Country Inn, 2499 County Hwy. SS, Rice Lake, in the aftermath of a crash that involved a total of seven vehicles and caused damage to the bar/restaurant building. Photo contributed by Barron County Sheriff’s Department. See story page 12A.

A blown stop sign is the apparent cause of a crash Saturday evening, Nov. 23, 2019, that put three people in the hospital – one with serious injuries – and damaged or destroyed a total of seven vehicles, as well as damaging the Country Inn Supper Club and causing slight injuries sustained by one of the customers in the building, Barron County Sheriff Chris Fitzgerald said.

An initial investigation showed a Chevrolet Suburban, diven by Brent Burns, Rice Lake, was going east on County Hwy. B (25th Avenue) when it went through a stop sign and collided with a southbound Chevolet Equinox driven by Sawyer County resident Dillen Matheny, of Springbrook.

The collision sent both vehicles into the Country Inn parking lot, just across the street from the intersection, where they collided with five other vehicles.

Of the three people who were hurt, the most serious injury was sustained by Justin Metheny, a passenger in the Equinox, who was extricated and flown to St. Mary’s Hospital, Duluth.

Driver Burns was taken to Marshfield Medical Center Rice Lake, while driver Metheny was treated at “an area hospital,” the report said. Fitzgerald said both drivers sustained non-life-threatening injuries.

One person in the supper club suffered a minor injury when they were hit by flying debris after one of the vehicles struck the building.

In all, five vehicles were towed from the scene, the sheriff said.

Responding to the scene along with sheriff’s deputies were the Wisconsin State Patrol, Rice Lake and Bear Lake/Haugen fire departments, ambulances from Marshfield Medical Center, Rice Lake, as well as Chetek and Cumberland, and helicopters from Life Link and North Memorial Hospital in the Twin Cities.