Webber Avenue

Van Crashes Through Maine Women's House, Driver Flees

The 23-year-old driver from Phippsburg who was later located was taken to a hospital for minor injuries

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A 91-year-old Maine woman is happy to be safe after a van smashed through a wall and into the first floor of her house early Saturday morning.

Bath homeowner Joan Bishop said she's "lucky" she sleeps upstairs because her den and first-floor guest room are a mess.

"You can crawl through the hole if you want to," Bishop said Monday explaining the one unconventional way to get into her den, which has since been tarped over.

Around 3:45 a.m. Saturday, Bishop was awakened by what she calls "just a big crash."

After putting on a bathrobe and going down the stairs in bare feet, Bishop discovered a large gray van had blown through an exterior wall and smashed a large hole in an interior one.

She immediately called the police who arrived minutes later.

"They asked, 'is everybody alright,'" recalled Bishop. "I said, 'I don't know, I can't hear or see anybody.'"

According to police and Bishop, she didn't see a driver because he had fled the scene, breaking a window on the van and one on the house. The driver also left a dog behind in the vehicle.

"The driver of the van fled the scene on foot," Bath Dep. Chief of Police Andrew Booth said. "We weren't able to locate him until an hour or so later when a motorist had called and said that they had up a person and dropped him off in Phippsburg."

After identifying the van's driver, whom police describe as 23-years-old from Phippsburg, Booth said Phippsburg EMS took him to an area hospital for treatment of minor injuries.

The driver has not yet been charged with a crime, though Booth says it remains a possibility as the investigation unfolds.

"Leaving the scene of an accident is a crime, speeding can be a crime," Booth said. "We have to get all the facts and evidence before we determine which charge might be forthcoming."

Bishop has lived in her house on Webber Avenue since the late 1970s. Multiple cars have gone through her fence in that time but nothing as serious as Saturday's crash has ever happened.

Bishop is now waiting for an insurance quote and is sleeping on her couch until she knows her second floor is structurally safe and sound and safe.

There is a large mess to clean up and damage to unique furniture like a marble-topped bureau she owns. An 18th Century painting, a special mirror and Bishop herself are all unscathed. Everything else, Bishop believes, can be repaired.

"You take it as it comes," she explained.

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