Dayton food pantry damaged in suspected DUI crash

Aaron Smith was booked into the Lyon County Jail and charged with driving under the influence, first offense.

Aaron Smith was booked into the Lyon County Jail and charged with driving under the influence, first offense.

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The Healthy Communities Coalition is relying on community assistance for food storage and donations after a driver crashed into an awning of the Community Roots Nursery in Dayton and damaged the corner of its building and outdoor coolers.

Aaron Smith was driving a Ford Explorer at high speed under the influence at approximately 7:26 p.m. April 6, according to a report from Lyon County Sheriff Brad Pope. Smith undercut the turn and hit the curb on the passenger side of the Explorer. He overcorrected in a right turn and attempted to overcorrect in a left turn, proceeding by going on to the curb. Smith traveled through the fence and stopped after striking the building.

A large planter at the nursery prevented the driver’s door from fully opening, and the passenger side was blocked by debris of the building, according to Pope’s report.

Smith was booked into the Lyon County jail for driving under the influence, first offense.

HCC Executive Director Wendy Madson told the Appeal on Tuesday the crash destroyed the pantry’s walk-in cooler, pavilion and stored food. She also said hours before the incident, staff members confirmed there had been a small group of youth workers helping who had been present.

“It hit home,” she said, worried about the potential vulnerability of the students who had been there. “We had a bunch of kids volunteering. This was the third accident on Dayton Valley Road on that bridge, and this was by far the worst.”

Madson said after the crash, volunteers had to make temporary repairs to the fence.

The outdoor pavilion houses a storage area, and the corner of the main building was ripped off, she said.

“It’s significant,” she said. “The power was shut down along with the water. The coolers were damaged and we have no way to run the food pantry. I want to thank the incredible response of our community. They immediately said, ‘What do you need? How can I help?’”

HCC reached out to local partners at Grocery Outlet and Smith’s in Dayton to assist with any food that could be salvaged at 10:30 p.m. Saturday night. Madson said there were some losses, but some donors have brought in contributions. She also said HCC also would have to rely on sister pantries in Silver Springs and Yerington to help. The coolers lost at Community Roots Nursery were quite large and will be difficult to replace even with insurance, she said.

“What we need, if anybody has one, is a refrigerated trailer that we could utilize to temporarily store the food and donations of canned protein like tuna and chili and canned chicken, things like peanut butter,” she said.

For information about the HCC, visit


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