Pickup truck crashes in selectman-owned body shop


TOWNSEND – No one was injured Thursday night when a pickup truck crashed into Harbor Auto Body at 98 Main Street, owned by Selectman Joe Shank.

Shank said the driver collided with the building next to the garage, causing damage to the steel beams and bricks in the walls. Employee toolboxes were thrown up to 15 feet across the store, he added.

“My biggest concern was that (the driver) was not injured. Buildings can be repaired, ”Shank said.

Police Lt. Mark Giancotti said the driver was heading east on Main Street around 7:30 p.m. and attempted to avoid an animal on the roadway. He described the driving conditions as “dark and rainy”, by the time the driver reacted to the brakes they had collided with the building. He said the driver showed no signs of impairment and had been checked by EMS for injuries, none of which were reported.

Shank said he was “at a loss for words” upon hearing the news, but was “proud” of the town’s first responders who took part in the call.

“There were six vehicles parked in the parking lot before last night and one inside the building that had just been completely finished, right outside the gate to the bay. He never hit a single one of these vehicles. God was with him and let me tell you, ”Shank said.

Throughout Friday, Shank said the store received “a huge wave of support” from the local community, including people who offered to help clean up and pick up the debris. He said his insurance company was sending an emergency response team from Rhode Island and the company would still be able to work.

“The community has supported me for the past 50 years, so I have no reason to ask for more than they always have. And also, I mean, I have insurance, I have what I need, ”Shank said.

Harbor Auto Body has been a part of the Townsend community for decades. Shank started the business with his wife Elaine in 1973, then known as Joe’s Auto Body. Shank said the company moved to its current location about 20 years ago.

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