Car plows into building|Residents chase down the driver

Published 6:41 am Saturday, November 28, 2009

Staff Writer

Residents said they chased down the driver of a white, four-door car that crashed through the front wall of a Washington-area body shop Friday afternoon.
Mark Yates, division chief of operations with the Washington Fire-Rescue-EMS-Inspections Department, happened to be across the street when the accident occurred.
Yates said he had stopped off at Shop-Eze Sentry Hardware before the vehicle struck Jack’s Body Shop, located at 602 River Road, at the corner of River and Brick Kiln roads.
Fearful for the safety of his friend, body-shop owner Jack Starkie, Yates ran across the street.
Yates and Starkie said they chased the fleeing driver down on foot.
“We had to run him down and tackle him,” Starkie said.
The man requested to use a cell phone, Yates said.
“You could tell he’d been drinking pretty heavily,” Yates told the Daily News.
Starkie said he was in the building at the time of the crash. He was unhurt.
Starkie said he had been in his office, doing paperwork earlier in the day, but was in the back of the shop when the accident happened.
The car, a Cadillac STS Northstar, smashed completely through the front wall of the office, scattering white-painted cinder blocks on a nearby pickup truck and buckling a wall separating the office from the workshop.
The front of the shop’s roof was dangling precariously over the car, which appeared to be supporting part of the newly ventilated overhang.
Starkie noted he was glad he hadn’t remained in the office until the crash.
“I’d have been so messed up,” he said.
Starkie said his shop has been in the same location for 25 years. He said he wasn’t sure when it would reopen. He said he was not the sole owner of the building, and added that he wasn’t sure what he would do next.
Officials with the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office were on the scene shortly after the incident. The officials reported the driver was in custody. No further details were immediately available.