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Car crashes into town hall in Chenango County

GERMAN (WBNG) — The Chenango County Sheriff’s Office says a car crashed into the German Town Hall just after 8 p.m. Sunday.

The town clerk told 12 News the car came through one wall of the town hall, spun around, and then took out a second wall.

“I was completely flabbergasted when I got here and saw it. It had come through both sides of the building, and the building is hanging on by as you can see, a thread,” said town clerk Ellen Maroney.

The car ended up right where the town judge usually sits, in the justice department.

“You know it was lucky the judge wasn’t sitting in his chambers at the time. Everything’s destroyed. It’s the entire court room, his office, the judge’s chambers is gone,” said former town judge, Robert Benzel.

Maroney says she’s thankful nobody was inside the building at the time of the crash.

“It could have been so much worse, we could have been in the middle of a board meeting, it could have been full of people, our judge could have been having court. Someone upstairs was looking out for the town of German last night because nobody was injured,” she said.

Besides having a justice department, the town hall held board meetings, town functions, and could be rented by residents. Now the town hall staff is left looking for another place to hold events.

“In the meantime, business goes on. You still have to do the town’s business and it will continue, we’ll figure out what to do. And right now we’re just cleaning up the mess,” said Maroney.

While the foundation of the building is crumbling, the spirit of rebuilding is what’s holding the community together.

“I saved one corner brick so that when they rebuild this, somewhere we’ll memorialize the old town hall with a corner brick,” said Maroney.

Police say the cause of the crash was distracted driving, and not drug or alcohol related. The say the driver took his eyes off of the road and lost control.

The driver was ticketed, according to the Chenango County Sheriff’s Office.

Annie Flaherty

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