Bennett's Ace Hardware brothers are recovering after truck slams into long-time Jacksonville business

·4 min read
A semi-dump truck remains inside Bennett's Ace Hardware on West Beaver Street in Jacksonville's Marietta community Wednesday. It slammed into a car and through the front wall late Friday, injuring the two drivers and a passenger and business owner/brothers Keith and Dennis Bennett who were inside the store.
A semi-dump truck remains inside Bennett's Ace Hardware on West Beaver Street in Jacksonville's Marietta community Wednesday. It slammed into a car and through the front wall late Friday, injuring the two drivers and a passenger and business owner/brothers Keith and Dennis Bennett who were inside the store.

Glen Bennett says his family has some hopes as he stands about 30 feet from the hole a dump truck left late Friday in his two brother's hardware store next door.

The tractor-trailer hit Dennis and Keith Bennett as they worked inside, leaving them hospitalized but in fair condition.

Even as a bright orange city "Condemned" sign is tacked to the West Beaver storefront, the brother said Bennett's Ace Hardware will survive. It's been a fixture in Jacksonville's Marietta community for six decades.

"Of course, the city had to put a sign up to keep people out of the building because it is unsafe in its current condition," Glen Bennett said Wednesday from behind the counter at Bennett's Power Equipment at 8068 W. Beaver St., unaffected by the crash.

Déjà vu: Jacksonville seafood store demolished following crash into West Beaver St. business

Beaches business battered by crashes: Pickup smashes through storefront for 4th time

"It's the family's desire to continue the legacy of Benita and Royce Bennett, who started that business in 1959," he added, awaiting removal of the crashed truck. "That's when our fingers are crossed and we hope the building doesn't collapse as they pull that out."

What happened

Dashcam video obtained by news partner First Coast News from truck shows it headed east on West Beaver Street about 5 p.m. with the traffic signal green. As the truck proceeds through the green light, a westbound car turns in front of it.

As the truck hits the car, its hood buckles into view as it veers into the hardware store, the video shows. The truck slams into the store just to the left of its front door, crashing through the cement wall as its windshield shatters before the scene goes dark.

The crash injured five people, including the truck driver and the car's 15-year-old driver along with her 11-year-old passenger, according to the crash report provided to First Coast News. Three other cars, including one parked in front of the hardware store, were involved.

Jacksonville firefighters stand on Ladder 26 to view damage caused at Bennett's Ace Hardware in Marietta on Wednesday following the late Friday crash of a  semi, still sticking out of the boarded business Wednesday.
Jacksonville firefighters stand on Ladder 26 to view damage caused at Bennett's Ace Hardware in Marietta on Wednesday following the late Friday crash of a semi, still sticking out of the boarded business Wednesday.

Keith Bennett had to be pulled from near or under the crashed truck, his brother Glen said.

The Florida Highway Patrol cited the 15-year-old for failure to yield the right of way and violating her learner's license, according to the report.

Disaster strikes another local business: Family-owned landmark North Jacksonville restaurants to rebuild after catastrophic fire

City Municipal Code Compliance inspectors declared the structure as an "emergency condemnation" due to its open and unsecured state, city officials said.

Glen Bennett was not there when the crash occurred, saying he was called as he was driving and told to "rush to my store."

Broken car parts are still scattered on the asphalt outside Bennett's Ace Hardware, days after a semi crashed through its front wall late Friday, injuring five people including two children and the store's owners.
Broken car parts are still scattered on the asphalt outside Bennett's Ace Hardware, days after a semi crashed through its front wall late Friday, injuring five people including two children and the store's owners.

What's next

A temporary 8-foot-tall wooden wall was erected in front of the business to keep people out.

The back corner of the crashed truck was still visible just after 9 a.m. Wednesday behind the barrier as Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Station 26's ladder truck rolled up. Its firefighters had just come on duty and were checking the building's status in case they had to respond to something there, they said.

The Sandollar: Fire badly damages landmark North Jacksonville restaurant

Restaurant blaze: Massive fire guts Bono's Pit Bar-B-Q near St. Johns Town Center - Jacksonville

Longtime customers and friends have also visited Glen's store to find out how his brothers are, he said.

"People are concerned and dropping off cards, and I am forwarding those to my brothers in the hospital," he said.

Glen Bennett holds one of the many get-well cards and notes he has received as his brothers recover from injuries suffered Friday when a truck crashed into their Bennett Ace Hardware store next door.
Glen Bennett holds one of the many get-well cards and notes he has received as his brothers recover from injuries suffered Friday when a truck crashed into their Bennett Ace Hardware store next door.

After the truck is removed under the observation of engineers, the building's owners can submit plans and seek permits for reconstruction, city officials said. Inspectors will revisit the site at the end of February.

"As for the timeframe of the repairs, that is up to the insurance companies and the owner," city officials said.

"I feel devastated," Bennett said. "I am 59, and I have been here my whole life. ... We are still hoping and praying that Dennis and Keith recover. Dennis is the president of Bennett's Ace Hardware, and ultimately it will be his decision on what to do."

dscanlan@jacksonville.com, (904) 359-4549

This article originally appeared on Florida Times-Union: Two owner/brothers, others hurt in crash into Jacksonville business

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting