Downtown Dover law office struck by car for 2nd time in three months

DOVER — Oh no, not again.

For the second time in just over three months a downtown law office was victimized by a vehicle crashing into its front.

The damage wasn’t as bad Thursday night as what Young & McNelis experienced on May 24.

Just a few bricks were damaged this time compared to major destruction last spring.

Thank goodness the outer wall was strengthened with reinforcing bar after the last crash, attorney Brian McNelis said Friday morning. He described the damage as bricks being gouged in a 2-feet by eight inch path.

“I can’t vouch for how much damage there would have been if the bricks hadn’t been reinforced,” he said.

The brick exterior of Young & McNelis law firm was damaged by a vehicle crash in downtown Dover Thursday night. (Delaware State News/Heather Cregar)

The same traffic pattern apparently led to a two-vehicle crash — one heading south in the 300 block of State Street and another west toward North Street.

That was the preliminary report that Mr. McNelis received from investigating city police.

“Apparently two vehicles came in contact with each other and kind of ping pong balled,” Mr. McNelis said.

“The vehicle that struck the building took out a little bit of brick but didn’t intrude into the inside space.”

According to an incident report, both vehicles entered the intersection at the same time at 7:46 p.m. One driver traveling souh on S. State street entering the intersection of West North Street reported “he thought the traffic light was green for him, hoever, he stated his head was turned and he could not tell.”

The other driver stated she was heading west on West North Street entering the intersection of South State Street “when she noticed her traffic light was green.”

One driver was issued a citation for running a red light. Dover Police did not have any information on possible injuries.

While “we’ve had some near misses” in the past, Mr. McNelis is growing more concerned with the recent frequency.

“Yeah, I’m starting to get a bit concerned,” he said.

The city took steps to improve safety at the intersection after the last accident that left two drivers with minor, if any injuries. Mr. McNelis said yellow border edges were added to traffic lights to make them seem “bigger and more obvious.”

If motorists don’t slow down on the tight streets, though, problems will continue.

“I think if there’s a culprit, it’s the speed,” Mr. McNelis said. “People are going too fast and don’t even see the lights.

“They’re doing some things to improve it, but unless they do something about the speed there will continue to be problems.”

In the last incident in May, Dover Police said, a vehicle caused the crash when it ran through a red light. The driver was issued a traffic citation.

No injuries were reported in that one, but a paralegal in the office at the time suffered an anxiety attack and was taken to Bayhealth-Kent General Hospital and given a few days off work.

In 2003, a vehicle hit a side window on the building, and another one reportedly once collided with the building across the street that’s home to the Hudson, Jones, Jaywork & Fisher law practice.

Reach staff writer Craig Anderson at canderson@newszap.com

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