NEWBURGH, Maine — The former Newburgh Elementary School, which is now the site of the town office, sustained major damage Thursday evening when it was rammed accidentally by a former selectman.
Former Selectman Stanley “Skip” Smith, who was going to a selectmen’s workshop at 6 p.m. Thursday, said his foot simply slipped off the brake of his Chevy van as he pulled into a parking space.
“It wasn’t intentional,” said Smith on Saturday. “Of all the places I had to hit, it was the school.”
Smith served as selectmen through one of the most contentious periods in the town’s history, which included the revelation that Cindy Dunton, the town’s former deputy treasurer, stole $200,000 in taxpayer funds. Smith lost his bid for re-election to the board last March to Mike Burns.
The building received the worst of the damage. The bricks and mortar below a window to interim Town Manager Warren Hatch’s office were caved in and heating equipment inside was wrecked. Hatch was not in his office and no one was injured.
Penobscot County Deputy Noel Santiago, who responded to the accident, said there will be no charges in connection to the accident.
“There was no alcohol or drugs involved,” he said. “His foot just slipped off the brake and onto the gas. When you hit brick like that with any force, there’s a lot of damage. I’m surprised the whole wall didn’t come down.”
The opening in the building has been boarded up. Smith said he was unsure who will pay for the damage, though he said he has full coverage on his van, which had about $2,000 in damage but is still drivable.
An early version of this story contained incorrect photo credits. The photos should be credited to Cindy Carlisle.