Uncertain future awaits restaurant after car crash

Uncertain future awaits restaurant after car crash
A vehicle crashed into the front of the Ye Old Fish 'N Chip Shop in Cornwall in the early morning hours of Saturday

By Adam Brazeau 
CORNWALL, Ontario – The owner of the Ye Old English Fish ‘N’ Chip Shop in downtown Cornwall is not sure if his family’s legacy will continue to feed the city.

A vehicle plowed through the eatery, which is located at 9 First Street East between Pitt and Sydney streets, early Saturday morning at approximately 2:45 a.m.

Michael Henstock, the shop’s owner, raced downstairs only to find his establishment in ruins and the black SUV-type vehicle that caused the damage attempting to make a getaway down the street.

“I heard a loud crash and there it was,” said Henstock.

Joseph Boyer, a DJ for Vu Nightspot, heard the incident from outside the club just a few hundred meters away.

“I went around the corner after seeing smoke rise up from the building. I thought it was an explosion at first. After turning the alley corner the vehicle proceeded to back out and drive directly towards a group of us. It then spun out on its rims and couldn’t go any further,” said Boyer.

He didn’t see the driver or if there were any passengers inside the vehicle.

Henstock recalled seeing the vehicle come to a complete stop just before the stop sign at the end of the street. Then, he witnessed an unknown person running through the nearby parking lot.

Cornwall police confirmed they were at the scene of the crime, but were unable to provide any details about who was arrested.

Henstock took over the restaurant where he lives from his parents eight years ago after they owned and operated it for a decade.

“This is my future, all my money is invested in this building,” he said. “What happens next is uncertain until a construction engineer comes in to tell me if it’s a write-off or not. It’s an old building. Hopefully, I can fix it and be back in business.”

Patrons of the family-operated restaurant flocked to the shop Saturday to see the damage for themselves and to ask to Henstock how he was doing.

“By morning over 100 people came to the restaurant. Whether they eat at the Fish ‘N Chip or not, they wanted to see,” he said. “It’s nice when the community stands behind you.”

Boyer and Henstock both believe the crash was linked to drinking and driving.

Henstock said he was glad nobody was hurt and is keeping positive about the ordeal.

“I was pretty shocked, but life goes on. How many people can say they had a car run through their building?” he asked.

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