KC restaurant damaged by drunk driver crash on Southwest Trafficway nearly ready to reopen

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- About nine months after a drunk driver ran into their building, a Kansas City restaurant is nearly ready to reopen its doors.

On Thursday, a Jackson County judge sentenced Malcom Hawkins, who drove into a restaurant on Southwest Trafficway while intoxicated, to 10 years in prison. Hawkins, who was driving without a license, killed his 19-year-old cousin Diamond May in the June 2017 crash.

Hawkins crashed into Freshwater Restaurant, near 37th Street, which is still closed. But after extensive repairs and added safety measures, owner Calvin Davis is almost ready to reopen his business.

Davis added support structures and barriers around the building, and in less than two months, Davis said he plans to reopen Freshwater.

“We did not know if we would be back here originally, but with the way it worked out, we knew we always wanted to be in this neighborhood,” Davis said.

Freshwater Restaurant was only open for six weeks when police say Hawkins went off the road and crashed into the building. The restaurant featured locally sourced food, and Davis is looking forward to opening his doors again.

“It’s been a really long road, obviously,” Davis said.

Neighbors said they hope the reopening of Freshwater will bring new life to the mostly vacant building.

“We had loved it,” Sarah Edwards said. “We had only gotten to go once and were hoping to return and were really sad to hear the news the crash happened.”

Some said, in the aftermath of the crash, they understand concerns about safety but hope it won’t be a problem anymore.

“They drive too fast, and it’s too congested,” Anne Ritter said. “I can see where some people would be concerned, but I don’t think it’s that big of a deal.”