A violent crash Tuesday has forced a family to shut down a neighborhood Dairy Queen in the south suburbs for the foreseeable future.
Crews worked to secure the beloved ice cream shop that was left with a massive gaping hole in its side support beams now propping up part of the roof.
"This is really sad," said resident Alice Gaus. "I hope they can bring it back."
Police responded to the scene where a driver had crashed into the east side of the dairy queen. One passenger was able to get out but the driver had to be removed. He was transported to the hospital in critical condition.
"We are just so thankful that this wasn’t during normal business hours because it would’ve been a disaster," said Homewood resident Kim Kurtz.
The business, owned by the Welsch family, has been an institution in Homewood for decades.
"The kids know that after every baseball game they come here and they get ice cream you know as a treat--win or lose," 30-year resident John Griffin told NBC 5.
Kelly Welsh has managed the DQ for nearly 10 years. She says the outpouring of support has been emotional.
"I’m so grateful that this community loves me and my family and the Dairy Queen and what we built in the last 50 years," manager Kelly Welsh said.
Community members like Chris Kersten are hoping the landmark location will return in time.
"It’s just a tragedy, it’s a shame," Kersten said. "Hopefully they get back on their feet before too long."
Owners say this is not the end of this neighborhood institution by any means. They plan to rebuild.
The cause of the crash remains under investigation.