Bradley Co. bar closed after man rams truck into building - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Bradley Co. bar closed after man rams truck into building

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BRADLEY COUNTY, TN (WRCB) -

A Bradley County bar is closed Tuesday after a man repeatedly rammed his truck into the building. 

The owner says it happened Monday night as a bartender was closing Blue Line Tavern in Charleston. She was not hurt. 

Former employees like Casey McKenzie huddled around a propane powered light Tuesday as the walls around them were crumpled like paper. 

"It's kind of like a home away from home not just for the customers but for the employees as well," McKenzie said. 

It's what's left after employees say Joel Echols drove his truck into the building twice nearly hitting the bartender inside. 

The owner says Echols was not a customer and still doesn't know what motivated him but the damage is so bad, it's forcing the owner to close for good leaving McKenzie without a way to support her kids. 

"Just knowing that you're the soul provider and that you can't provide anymore is probably one of the hardest things that any mother or father probably has to deal with," she said. 

The tavern was more than a paycheck for McKenzie but a second family. And while it's unclear what the owner will do next, McKenzie still stopped by Tuesday. Because in times of need, you lean on family. 

"We came here to help clean, get things back in order and be around each other," she said, "You get a lot of bonds with people from all walks of life that you never in a million years would talk to or click with."

The owner of the tavern will meet with insurance agents Wednesday to figure out what she will do next. 

Echols is charged with aggravated assault, vandalism and other charges related to driving under the influence. 

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