CARIBOU, Maine — The building housing WFST AM 600 was heavily damaged when a woman reportedly drove her car into the Christian radio station’s U.S. Route 161 building early Saturday morning and then left the scene.
Patrolman Corey Saucier discovered the damage while on routine patrol around 5 a.m. Saturday, according to Caribou Police Chief Michael Gahagan.
While inspecting the damage to the building’s interior, Saucier found a license plate belonging to a 1999 Toyota RAV4 owned by 47-year-old Christine Paul of New Sweden, Gahagan said.
Saucier tracked the vehicle to Paul’s home, where he discovered the heavily damaged car with paperwork originating from WFST stuck in the vehicle’s front grille.
Paul subsequently was charged with leaving the scene of a property damage accident, driving to endanger and criminal mischief, Gahagan said.
It appears Paul was coming off the Caribou Connector, which is directly across Route 161 from WFST’s driveway, Gahagan said.
“She failed to stop or turn right or left,” he said. “She went straight into the station at what must have been a good rate of speed.”
Paul allegedly drove across Route 161, over a ditch and crashed into the building, which is about 100 yards off the road. The vehicle took out an exterior brick wall, smashed a large window and destroyed the production room.
Evidence at the scene indicated the car ended up completely inside the building, but Paul was able to leave the station and drive home, Gahagan said.
No one was in the building at the time, according to WFST operations manager Dick Waugh, and despite the heavy structural damage, the station was only off the air for a few hours on Saturday.
“We are still broadcasting,” Waugh said Monday. “Our computers got pushed around a bit but our engineer was able to get everything hooked back up.”
Waugh said there was little doubt a car had been completely inside the station.
“You could see the tire tracks on the rugs,” he said.
An insurance adjuster was expected on the scene at some point Monday, Waugh said, and the station is looking at replacing rugs, the window, internal walls and the external wall.
“We have a lot to be thankful for,” Waugh said. “No one was in the building at the time, no one was hurt and we are still broadcasting.”
As for Paul’s actions, Waugh said it did not take long for Saucier to find that license plate and identify the suspect.
“When the police officer flashed his flashlight around, he spotted the [license] plate and pulled it out and said that was pretty good evidence,” Waugh said. “I told him that in the Bible, Numbers 32:23 tells us, ‘Be sure your sin will find you out.’”