DUI Crashes Take Toll on Buildings
By: Mary Ann Pekara
When drivers get behind the wheel under the influence of drugs and alcohol, people often get hurt. But the other casualties of dangerous drivers can be the buildings drunk drivers crash their cars into.
Previously reported from Seattle was the collision caused by an alleged drunk driver that damaged an iconic drive-in hamburger joint. Even more incidents lately have upped the tally of buildings suffering damages as a result of DUI.
In Delavan, Wisconsin, a repeat DUI offender crashed into a local dentist’s office at 2:30 AM on a Sunday morning. The driver, Jose Gamino-Torres, suffered minor injuries in the accident, and was arrested for DUI, according to the Examiner.
The Delavan Police Department delivered the news to the building’s owner, Dr. Jeff Winn, who arrived on the scene just as the towing company was extracting the SUV from the building itself. According to Winn’s account, the driver tried to pass another car on the street in front of the building and lost control. The SUV then plowed into the employee entrance on the brown brick building’s first floor.
Dr. Winn, who has been in practice since 1974, bought the building in 1978. The building was designed by students of Frank Lloyd Wright at a different location, before it was relocated to its current location by the original owner. The structure was severely damaged, according to Winn, though a local inspector had cleared it as safe to occupy. The electrical circuit box was destroyed, and there is no power to the basement.
In Greeneville, Tennessee, a young man was driving his car while high on pills, according to witnesses, when he crashed his vehicle into a church during a Sunday night service. Tyler Shane Penley of Limestone was arrested at the scene for driving under the influence.
Members of the church found Penley’s car crashed into the building’s guest room. No injuries were reported, for the driver or anybody else in the building, though Penley was described as shaken up and upset, according to Tricities.com.
“The car was inside of the building. The car was stuck, we couldn’t move the car,” said David Fox, the pastor of the Eastside Baptist Church.
Fox was of the belief that their could be positive DUI consequences from the accident, which has the potential to present a turning point moment to the young man responsible. “Our desire through all of this is that the young man would really consider his relationship with God, because this could be a great turning point in his life. I don’t believe it was an accident that he ended up in our church parking lot.”
Apparently Penley thought that he was on a different road, searching for a friend, and mistakenly turned into the church’s parking lot. According to a radio report, Penley told police that he had blacked out after taking pain medication.
Fox will meet with Penley, his father and an insurance company to discuss repairing the damage that was caused to the church. Fox hoped to meet with Penley for a visit, and to encourage the teenager’s spiritual growth.