Truck crash leaves hole in Dover law office

 

Attorney Brian McNelis of Young & McNelis describes what happened when a truck hit his office at 300 S. State St., Dover, on Wednesday. (Delaware State News/Marc Clery)

DOVER — Years of fear were confirmed Wednesday morning at a downtown law firm.

A black pickup truck crashed into the front office of Young & McNelis just before 7 a.m., leaving two drivers with minor, if any injuries.

Even luckier was a paralegal in the office when the truck smashed through the bricks.

She was at a copy machine 10 to 12 feet away from the destruction and was uninjured physically.

Rattled by the experience, however, the woman suffered from an anxiety attack and was taken the Bayhealth-Kent General Hospital.

Once she stabilized, her attorney boss Brian McNelis sent her home until next Tuesday.

“She needed some time away from here and I told her not to come back until after the long weekend,” Mr. McNelis said in the aftermath as a cleanup crew shoveled collapsed bricks out of the building.

According to Dover Police, a vehicle caused the crash when it ran through a red light. The driver was issued a traffic citation.

While nobody ever expects a truck to come hurtling into their work space, Mr. McNelis said he worried that the narrow intersection area of State and North streets next to the office would some day cause trouble.

A black pickup truck crashed into the front office of the Young & McNelis law firm at 300 S. State Street in Dover on Wednesday morning. A red Mustang was also damaged in the incident. (Submitted photo/Brian McNelis)

The attorney plans to reconfigure the front office to move the receptionist out of harm’s way, he said.

In 2003, a vehicle hit a side window on the building and staff claims that the prospect of accidents are constant.

Also, a vehicle reportedly once collided with the building across the street that’s home to the Hudson, Jones, Jaywork & Fisher law practice.

“It’s just not safe,” Mr. McNelis said. “People go entirely too fast coming through town and don’t see or pay attention to the lights, and trucks constantly ease their way through tight turns on the corner.

“While what happened today is a first, there have been plenty of other dangerous traffic situations right next to us.”

Building owner Robert B. Young, recently retired as a Kent County Superior Court judge, said North Street was previously a one-way roadway that’s now jammed into lanes going both ways.

Arriving to work from his home in Odessa just after the crash, Mr. McNelis was told that the red Mustang apparently pushed the black pickup truck into the office. While both drivers were taken from the scene by ambulance he said “they seemed to be OK.”

A black pickup truck crashed into the front office of the Young & McNelis law firm at 300 S. State Street in Dover on Wednesday morning. A red Mustang was also damaged in the incident. (Submitted photo/Brian McNelis)

A preliminary visit from the city Fire Marshal found the office was structurally sound enough not to be evacuated. The phones and Internet were available just after 9 a.m. and Mr. McNelis planned to leave soon for a scheduled appearance in the nearby Kent County Courthouse.

Across the street, building owner Mr. Young said, all things considered, “There’s a lot of good news in this.”

Mr. Young pointed to the lack of serious injury and apparently limited structural damage as bright spots.

“I think the damage is largely cosmetic, at least that’s the hope at the moment,” he said.

“A beam has moved and a portion of the sidewalk was altered, so I haven’t yet been told what affect that might have.”

The former judge said the building built in 1863 was constructed to withstand punishing blows to the exterior — the three brick deep walls were likely in place in case the Confederate army arrived from the south during the Civil War, he speculated.

Reach staff writer Craig Anderson at canderson@newszap.com

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