At 6:35 p.m. on Friday, April 22, a Whitworth student making a right turn into campus crashed into the Whitworth University sign at the east entrance. “The motorist, travelling on Hawthorne road in a gray pickup truck, failed to safely negotiate a turn into the east entrance,” Supervisor II of Security Services, Mark McFall, said.
Security guards who have been here for over 10 years say that this is not the first time this has occurred. The sign was crashed into five years ago, McFall said.
“It seems like it wouldn’t be that hard to maneuver that turn but two people have had trouble so far,” McFall said.
Although no one was badly injured, one passenger in the car was slightly injured and taken care of immediately after the incident.
“The Sheriff’s Department investigated the collision and issued the driver a citation, case number 11-118673, likely for making an unsafe turn,” McFall said.
For most accidents, police are likely to do scientific analysis to determine if laws were broken, however they didn’t for this incident.
Facilities services cleared the rubble from the road immediately but left the damaged structure until insurance adjusters could visit and assess the damage, Edward Kelly, Director of Facilities Services, said.
Facilities services has been in contact with the mason who will be doing repairs to figure out costs and other logistics.
The motorist will be taking responsibility for the cost of the repairs.
“My understanding is that the owner had automobile insurance so they will be on the hook for the repair costs,” McFall said.
Most of the bricks that fell from the wall were destroyed from the crash and will not be able to be replaced exactly.
Due to color variations and the fact that the existing brick is no longer manufactured, it will be impossible to match the brick, Kelly said.
Some of the gold letters that spelled out Whitworth University were still salvageable, however not all remained at the scene.
Facilities services planned on reusing the letters on the new wall when it was built but the quite a few of the letters have left the scene.
“We would really like to have those returned because they are very expensive,” McFall said.
Dick Pettis, manager of Facilities Maintenance, is in charge of arranging for the repairs and said that replacing the letters will add to the school’s expenses.
The repairs are likely to be made as soon as possible due to a desire to maintain the look of the school.