Trip to Niles provides excitement for travelers

Published 6:26 am Tuesday, June 21, 2005

By By JAN GRIFFEY / Niles Daily Star
NILES - Linda Rayburn Walters and her mother had just arrived in Niles Monday evening when they decided to stop for dinner at the Riverfront Cafe.
Walters, of Coconut Creek, Fla., is a 1969 graduate of Niles High School, who hasn't been in Niles for 15 years. Her mother, Elizabeth Rayburn, is a 1942 graduate of Niles High, who now lives in Fort Pierce, Fla.
They didn't have to look far.
Berrien Springs-Oronoko Township Police, joined by troopers from Michigan State Police Niles Post 53, Niles City Police and Niles Township Police, were involved in the chase of a suspect that originated in Berrien Springs.
The suspect crashed his vehicle into the planters at the corner of Front and Sycamore streets. Those planters, part of the recent renovation of Niles' streetscape, probably saved the lives of Riverfront patrons who were dining on the patio Monday night, said Neil Coulston, Niles' public works director.
Coulston said the crash did about $3,000 worth of damage to the planter.
Monday, a semi-tractor trailer truck hit part of the bollard-the black posts on each corner downtown-and damaged much of the brick paving near it, after failing to properly negotiate the corner at Main and Front streets.
To add insult to injury, "it was a hit and run," Coulston said, leaving about $1,500 in damages to the streetscape there.
At the Riverfront Cafe, Walters said she and other patrons who were dining inside made their way to the patio area after the crash.
Walters retrieved her camera and began snapping photos of the accident scene.
Elizabeth Rayburn and her husband, Jack, who died in 1993, owned Jack's House of Flavors, an ice cream shop, in Niles. It operated in the 1970s.