Camptown post office closed after accident
The Camptown post office was heavily damaged Saturday night after a 2005 Chevrolet Silverado, driven by William J Brewer, 49, of Laceyville drove through the building.
According to police, Brewer was traveling westbound along State Route 706 and approaching a left curve at the intersection with State Route 409. Brewer traveled straight through the intersection and off the southern side of State Route 409, across the post office lawn and impacted the building.
Brewer has been charged with careless driving, police said.
Brewer sustained moderate injuries, according to a state police press release.
The accident, which occurred at 11:10 p.m., left post office Officer in Charge Shirley Whalen feeling extremely lucky, as the truck passed through the building where her desk was located.
"I would have been 'smushed'," she said.
The vehicle came to rest inside of the building, but smashed holes through the front and back walls, Whalen said.
No one was inside the building at the time of the accident.
Whalen said she is unsure if the building will be rebuilt or repaired.
"The post office has been restructuring and right now we aren't sure what will happen," she said.
Camptown Postmaster Jane Robinson said that this is the second vehicle that has struck the building in a month. The last crash, which occurred in August, damaged the building's lobby, but the office was still able to be used, Robinson said.
"We managed through (the first accident) and the worst part of all of this is being able to be stable, so to speak, and being able to do service in spite of the lobby being destroyed. Now it's the office portion which entails way more than what happened the first time," she said.
Robinson called for PennDOT to look into the situation as a safety concern, but acknowledged that the chances of this happening twice in a month is extremely slim.
"PennDOT is going to need to address something on that corner, be it an inside guardrail or something else," she said.
Robinson said PO boxes will be temporarily set up at the Stevensville post office, per Camptown's emergency preparedness plan.
"We are going to start working on setting the boxes up today," Robinson said Monday.
Mark Hnasko, USPS spokesman, said Monday that the post office is currently in the stage of assessing damage and has yet to make a final decision on the future of the facility.
He confirmed that the Stevensville Post Office will temporarily serve the Camptown area.
Business hours at the Stevensville facility are: Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m, closed for lunch from noon until 1 p.m., Hnasko said. The office is also open Saturday from 7:30 a.m. until 11:30 a.m., he said.
Muhlenberg Green Architects, a Reading based business, surveyed the building Monday to gather information on future repairs.
Howard Quaintance, of MGA, said the foundation of the building appears to be intact, but it will likely be condemned due to the extensive damage on the interior and exterior of the building.
Quaintance said further inspection of the building, including tearing out the ceiling, would have to be performed before a final assessment and repair estimate could be made.
Tim Zyla can be reached at (570) 265-1634; or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.