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Truck crashes into Hallowell streetlight, nearly striking building. The hit-and-run crash involving a tractor-trailer occurred near Berry’s real estate business and a basement bar called the Easy Street Lounge. Fifteen years after a truck crashed into a building at the bottom of a steep hill in Hallowell, another truck came close to doing the same thing Thursday. A security camera on that building early Thursday morning videotaped a tractor-trailer coasting down Winthrop Street before sliding into Water Street, maneuvering to the right, and coming to an abrupt halt in the middle of the three-way intersection. In the process, the truck blew past a stop sign.When the crash happened just after 5 a.m., some residents in that part of the city felt it.
“I was sleeping, and my roommate came in and said, ‘I think a truck just hit the building,’ because it totally woke him up,” said Bruce Mayo, who lives on the third floor. “So we went out front to the living room, which looks out to the street, and all I could see was the back end of the truck.” The truck hadn’t actually struck the building. Rather, it crashed into a snowbank. According the building’s owner, Terry Berry, that set off a chain reaction, in which a street lamp was knocked over and a window on the front of the building was broken. The storefront that was damaged in the crash used to house Hallowell House of Pizza, but is empty now. It’s part of a larger building that includes apartments, Berry’s real estate business, and a basement bar called the Easy Street Lounge. The complex includes three street addresses: 104, 106 and 108 Water St. After the truck came to a stop Thursday morning, the security camera footage appears to show it backing out of the snowbank before continuing south on Water Street and leaving the scene. Within minutes, a caller reported the crash to police as a hit-and-run. “We were kind of looking, and it was like, ‘I don’t know if he hit (the building),’” Mayo recounted. “By that time, the driver had pulled out, and we looked down to see, and sure enough, … he went through the snowbank, hit the lamppost, and it looks like the lamppost went through the window.” Mayo added, “I’m thinking if that snow hadn’t been there, he might have done a lot more damage.” Berry said he’s relieved no one was injured but still frustrated by the outcome. He doesn’t know yet what the repair will cost, though it surely won’t top the $400,000 in damage following the crash 15 years ago. “Stuff happens,” Berry said later Thursday morning, after a company had taken measurements for a replacement window and the city had taken away the broken pole. “I know no one got hurt, which is the best thing, but it’s a pretty low blow for a professional truck driver to drive off.” Police are now investigating the crash, Berry said. A call to Hallowell police Chief Eric Nason wasn’t returned immediately Thursday. Neither the owner of the truck nor the identity of its driver is obvious from the security camera footage, which Mayo — who owns the Easy Street Lounge — posted on Facebook on Tuesday.
The security camera is on the front of Berry’s building. Berry also said that a chunk of the truck’s fender broke off during the crash and was lying at the scene this morning. Police took it as part of their investigation. Over the years, a number of cars and trucks have lost control on Winthrop Street and in other parts of Hallowell, crashing into the buildings below. After the 2003 crash — in which a truck carrying water lost control and ended up in the basement of Berry’s property — he installed the security camera that captured Thursday’s crash. In the late 1980s, a packed lumber truck met a similar fate, crashing into the building just north of Berry’s — what’s now the Harlow Gallery — and ending up in its ground floor for several months, according to Bob Stubbs, a former Hallowell mayor who owned the building. Another building used to stand north of the Harlow Gallery, but it was demolished after a loaded gravel truck rolled into it, Stubbs said. That’s where the city’s bandstand is now located. “It’s what happens when you own a building, and you have a T in the road,” he said of the crashes. Some crashes haven’t resulted in injuries. Others have, such as the time in 2012 when a pickup truck lost control and struck a parked car, injuring the truck’s two occupants. When Stubbs owned his building, there was also a crash that resulted in a pedestrian losing part of her leg. “It was pretty sad,” he said.