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Report: Driver fell out of seat before Pizza Planet crash

An UniFirst box truck crashed through the southwest side wall of the Somerset Pizza Planet (253 Main Street) approximately 10:45 a.m. on Thursday, June 29. Photo courtesy of Jerry Germain

The crash that punched a massive hole in the side of Somerset's Pizza Planet was caused by a driver who told police he slipped out of his seat just before the incident.

According to a Somerset police report, the driver, identified as 35-year-old Benjamin K. Nelson of Zimmerman, Minn., said he was driving a UniFirst box truck without his seat belt when he fell out of his seat at 10:30 a.m. June 29.

Nelson told police he tried pulling himself back up after falling toward the passenger side of the vehicle, but it was too late—the next thing he knew the truck was colliding with the brick building, the report states.

"This is all my fault," the report states Nelson said. "I was not wearing my seat belt."

In a statement to police, the driver said he grabbed the steering wheel while falling, which turned the truck toward the building.

At least one witness reported she couldn't see anyone behind the wheel just before the crash.

Nelson sustained a cut to his leg in the crash but did not request an EMS evaluation. A preliminary breath test revealed no sign of alcohol in Nelson's system.

Three workers were inside the restaurant at the time of the crash, none of whom were injured.

Police reported Nelson would be ticketed for a seat belt violation, failure to keep his vehicle under control and operating left of center.

Mike Longaecker

Mike Longaecker is the regional public safety reporter for RiverTown Multimedia. His coverage area spans St. Croix and Pierce counties. Longaecker served from 2011-2015 as editor of the Woodbury Bulletin. A University of Wisconsin-River Falls graduate, Longaecker previously reported for the Red Wing Republican Eagle and for the Forum Communications Minnesota Capitol Bureau. You can follow him on Twitter at @Longaecker

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