Russellville’s oldest eatery is temporarily out of commission after being struck by a car Monday afternoon.
The Bethel Dipper, located on Bethel Street, suffered extensive damage when 20-year-old Betty Knight attempted to pull up into a parking space beside the Dipper and pressed the accelerator instead of the brake, causing her pickup truck to collide with the north side wall of the structure.
Owner Nancy Powell said she is just glad it wasn’t worse than it was and that everyone is okay.
When Knight ran into the Dipper it caused the wall to cave in causing a Dipper employee Debra Wilson to suffer injury. She was transported to Logan Memorial Hospital where she was treated and released, according to a police report.
“First off, I just want to thank everyone so much for their thoughts, concerns and prayers over the past few days,” said Powell. “Knowing that when you’re down people care. It’s a good thing to be part of this community. A lot of bigger places don’t have that kind of caring. I wouldn’t trade it for anything.”
Powell said she was working the Monday when the incident occurred. It was shift change and she was working up front with employee Brandi Webster when all of a sudden they heard a huge “Boom!” Both looked in the back to see what had happened and they saw the big freezer moved to the middle of floor along with shelving. Things were flying everywhere and Wilson had been knocked over.
“Apparently they tried to stop but hit the gas instead of the break. Thank goodness it wasn’t as bad as it could have been,” said Powell. “People are the most important thing, a building is fixable.”
Powell said they are working on trying to get things fixed as soon as possible and be back up and running. She said she has been told that maybe by next week the Dipper will be open for business once again.
“Its a beautiful thought and one we are working towards, but you never know how fast things will go. We have had to tear it down before putting it back up. There has been a lot of progress so far,” said Powell, adding she can’t wait to get back to flipping burgers and making a batch of the Dipper’s renowned Sloppy Joe’s.
Powell’s grandfather, Thomas E. Powell opened the Bethel Dipper in the mid-1950s. Fifty-plus years later, the Bethel Dipper continues to be a local favorite.
“It’s just a little old-fashioned ice cream and hamburger joint,” said Powell, adding that her grandfather took over Bethel Dipper after retiring from the Air Force. It had always been a family operation, but Powell said she never really expected to become the owner herself. She worked with her father for several years before he died.
When Thomas Powell opened the Bethel Dipper, there were only a few other restaurants in Logan County. Powell said she believes the Bethel Dipper has stayed in business over the years for several reasons. One, they have tried to keep their prices low and the food good.
The Bethel Dipper has changed very little in appearance over the years and the food is just as delicious as it ever has been. The Dipper offers a selection of sandwiches including unbelievable cheeseburgers, scrumptious corn dogs, and sloppy Joe’s that are reminiscent of that local delicacy the “tasty” sandwich Russellville is known for. Old fashioned crinkle fries are served up in a red and white paper tray complete with a packet of salt and ketchup. And don’t forget the ice cream, which is overflowing with flavors, toppings and taste.