Car Crash Leaves Gaping Hole in Old Town Hall

An out-of-control car smashed into a Delaware town hall overnight sending at least one person to the hospital and leaving the town cleaning up bricks and debris.

Police say Charles Ray, 33, was driving along Justis Street in Newport, Del. when he missed a curve, jumped a curb, hit a sign, drove over a stretch of lawn and smashed into Newport Old Town Hall around 1:30 a.m.

The impact of the wreck left a gaping hole under a window in the side of the historic New Castle County building that is used for town meetings and court hearings in the town of about 1,000 residents.

Ray was rushed to the hospital and police say he is expected to be okay. According to officials, Ray admitted to being high on PCP at the time of the crash. He will be charged with DUI.

While police say Ray was under the influence, neighbors say several drivers have gotten into accidents near the building and the sound of car crashes is a common occurrence.

"If you live here you know what the sound is after awhile because it happens here all the time," said Jeff Biscoe.

Neighbors say drivers often get confused while on Justis Street or take the corner too fast.

During a study of Justis Street back in 2009 however, officials with DelDot determined that the warning signs, markers and enforcement efforts were sufficient in directing drivers in the area. They claimed most of the accidents on the road involved drunk drivers who were speeding. Newport Mayor Michael Spencer agrees.

"You can't stop it from happening," Spencer said. "Short of putting a fortress around there, nothing can curb that type of behavior. This is all at the root of poor behavior and decision making."

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