Just before 1 a.m. on Tuesday, November 30, video surveillance shows what appears to be a white Subaru barreling down Commerce Street in Deep Ellum. Then the road forks. Commerce splits off into Second Avenue, and this is where Thunderbird Station sits, nestled in this angled wedge. It’s this point where the car, turning too late and driving too fast onto Second, crashes into the bar’s patio barrier.
No one was hurt—though we can’t speak for the presumably impaired driver. “I’m just super thankful and lucky that we were closed and nobody was here,” says Thunderbird owner Kim Finch, who’s still trying to find the humor in this weird and wild thing we call life. “That’s why I can laugh about it: We now have a drive-thru!”
Had Thunderbird not been closed, as it usually is on Monday nights, Finch says that’s when staff is cleaning up and putting things away. (You can watch Thunderbird’s outdoor camera footage here.) The collision flipped three tables and crumpled the exterior fencing, a heavy-duty metal that Finch got custom made in case of events like this. It’s not the first time Finch has seen recklessness in the neighborhood.
“We’ve had this happen at Doublewide, too,” Finch says of her other bar located northeast of Thunderbird just on the other side of Exposition. “There’s a curve—we’ve watched people Dukes of Hazzard launch over that, too,” taking out a tree, says Finch, who says she has tried notifying the city about these drivers going full Hot Wheels around her bars.
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“I’ve asked the city to put up those cement poles and reflectors that show, ‘Hey, there’s a turn here,” Finch says, but has yet to hear back from city leadership. (We have asked the city to confirm these complaints but haven’t heard back; this post will be updated once we do.) Finch recently tagged newly minted District 2 city Councilman Jesse Moreno in her Instagram post, hoping he can help improve road safety near her businesses.
Commerce Street is a one-way, and on quiet nights, this stretch of road can appeal to those looking to push their pedal down as they exit Deep Ellum. The turn for Second Avenue comes quickly, and if someone is already driving too fast it is easy to see what can happen. Just look at the patio’s aftermath.
“It’s crazy. It’s scary. We have too many fatalities down there already. I don’t want to see anymore. Let’s minimize the fatalities as much as we can,” she says.
With better signage and improvements, maybe they can. Finch is hopeful and in the meantime keep her holiday spirits up.
“You clean up the mess and move on. It’s the season to have fun,” she says. The pandemic taught her that crucial survival lesson.