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Driver who struck Muzzle Loader in Billings remains on the loose

Muzzle Loader Damage
Posted at 6:40 PM, Jun 20, 2024

BILLINGS — The Muzzle Loader Cafe, located at 4912 Laurel Road, was struck by a truck just before 5 a.m. Tuesday, and several days later the business and police are still looking for the driver.

The security footage shows a dark truck driving right up to the building, hitting it, and then slowly backing away moments later before driving off.

Security footage muzzle loader
A still from the security footage captured from inside the Muzzle Loader Cafe of the moment a truck struck the side of the building Tuesday morning.

Jarred Weisen, one of the managing partners of the Muzzle Loader Powderhorn, says that the café was closed when the crash happened but able to reopen within a few hours.

“We got a hold of a structural engineer to make sure that we could open back up," said Weisen. "We closed for the morning to make sure that everything was safe and sound, not only for customers but for our employees, too."

Inside the cafe, it was business as usual, minus the noticeable damage and gap where two booths used to be. Many customers seemed unfazed.

“It didn’t look as bad as I thought it would. I thought it would be way worse," said Randy Oelkers, a customer dining on Thursday morning at a table near the damage.

Repairs will be costly and could take up to a month. So far, authorities have no information about the vehicle, the driver or why they were in the lot at that hour.

“I'm not really sure why they would have chosen then or what they were doing in our parking lot in general, you know, just before 5 a.m,” said Weisen.

The incident happened around 4:56 am on June 18.

Safety and his employees were of top concern for Weisen, and he says that he is grateful that no one was injured and that they are still able to continue operating.

"I'm just happy that nobody was hurt and that structurally we're sound enough that everybody's allowed to kind of go about their day-to-day as well as possible," said Weisen. “I mean, we have a couple of tables missing, but a couple of tables, we can live without that as long as everything else is moving in the right direction.”