Daily Progress, Jacksonville, TX

Local News

March 13, 2013

Elderly driver rams side of water building; no one hurt

MT SELMAN — An elderly driver accidentally rammed the side of the North Cherokee Water Corporation building on Highway 69 and FM 177 in a recent accident that has officials scratching their heads.

No one is believed to have been injured during the March 3 incident. Officials still want to talk to the driver, who drove away after the accident and apparently remained at large Tuesday.

The collision was one of the main topics discussed by members of the North Cherokee Water Corporation at their Monday night meeting.

The still-unidentified woman had just dropped off a payment at the building the afternoon of March 3 and climbed into her late model Buick. But instead of switching gears to “drive,” she put them in “reverse,” ramming the side of the metal building, reports show.

The incident caused $950 in damage that fell just below the organization's $1,000 insurance deductible, reports show.

 “It's just one of those things,” Oscar J. MacAnally, NCWC president explained during a Tuesday interview. “We were closed on the Sunday it happened. The following Monday, my guys came to work and noticed the damage – the building was bent in. We went through our security camera system and located film of the incident.”

A report apparently taken by a Texas Department of Public Safety trooper was not immediately available Tuesday.

The Jacksonville DPS records office was closed – as it is on Tuesdays and Thursdays – and Trooper Jean Dark, Texas Department of Public Safety public information officer, was on vacation. A substitute public information officer was not immediately able to locate the requested information.

MacAnally said although the incident itself was certainly dramatic, the impact really wasn't in the scheme of things. It didn't even break the sheet rock inside the building.

“We have a contractor who is coming Monday and fixing it,” MacAnally said. “Because our metal building has panels, we are going to have to replace four of them that were bent in. Each of them is about two-and-a-half-feet wide.”

From what North Cherokee Water Corpora-tion officials were able to deduce, the woman apparently drove up to the building to submit a payment into a drop that goes into a safe inside the building.

“Our security system, which has cameras all around the building, showed us that she dropped off her payment,” MacAnally said. “She went back to her car and – when she accidentally put it in reverse – it came around and hit the building about a third of the way down from the side. She came around front and struck the flower bed there. If the flower bed hadn't been there, she probably would have struck the front of the building as well.”

Authorities were initially stymied in the investigation because a clear view of the woman's license plate after she left the scene was not immediately visible on the security camera.

“They said they were going to try to enhance it,” MacAnally said. “They were very concerned about the woman's driving. The last we spoke they said they were going to try to identify the car and the driver.”

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