A historic barn in Bayfield was damaged Wednesday after a driver went 100 feet off the road and crashed, suffering serious injuries.
Upper Pine River Fire Protection District Chief Bruce Evans said authorities received a report around 6 p.m. Wednesday that a driver in an SUV crashed into the barn, located at 2178 Bayfield Parkway.
The force of impact was so extreme, Evans said, the steering wheel was bent. Out of precaution, fearing internal injuries, the man was considered a serious-trauma patient and taken immediately to Mercy Regional Medical Center.
Evans said he did not know the name of the man or potential cause of the crash, saying the investigation is being led by the Bayfield Marshal’s Office.
Calls to the Bayfield marshal were not returned.
Evans said it appeared the man was traveling west on Bayfield Parkway when he crossed the centerline, traveled across a field and crashed into the barn. The man was not wearing a seat belt, Evans said. The airbag was not deployed.
Kevin Aten, superintendent of the Bayfield School District, said the historic barn is located on district property and had just been restored. The barn has been used to store equipment, but the district was planning to repurpose the space.
“We had just spent a whole lot of time cleaning it all out and having it completely painted,” he said. “We just had it all fixed up.”
Aten was unsure of the exact history of the barn, but said it has been in the community for a long time.
“It’s one of those landmarks,” he said. “And we want to try to preserve that historic building for the community.”
Aten said district crews didn’t find any skid marks across the field, which indicates the man hit the barn at full speed.
“It’s somewhat fortunate ... that the barn stopped the car, because there are a lot of other things he could have run into,” Aten said.
The district believes the barn can be repaired, Aten said. Already, the district is taking bids from local contractors to fix it. He said it’s likely the driver’s insurance will cover the cost.
“We hope to have it repaired,” he said.