Jodi Spiegel Arthur
A car crashed through the visitors’ center at Bowman’s Hill Wildflower Preserve in Solebury Township Wednesday morning, after the driver mistakenly stepped on the gas pedal instead of the brake, Solebury Township Police Corporal Daniel Marascio said.
No one was injured when the Subaru Outback driven by preserve volunteer Lynn Stoner of Solebury smashed through a set of double doors after striking a BMW in the parking lot, Marascio said.
The Subaru “ricochetted off” of the BMW and went up a handicap entrance ramp and through the building, he said. Stoner had been attempting to park her car, the officer said.
Marascio said he did not know whether the BMW was occupied when it was struck.
Although the Subaru hit furniture and other items as it traveled through the building, where a meeting was set to take place, “there doesn’t appear to be any structural damage,” Marascio said. He said township staff had inspected the visitors’ center following the crash.
“She just absolutely threaded the needle with the car,” said Miles Arnott, executive director of the preserve. “There was like an inch on either side. It was incredible.”
He said the area the car drove through was the center’s gift shop, which was not occupied at the time.
“I think the (cold) weather kept people away, and that was a really good thing,” he said. “It was miraculous that no one was hurt.”
Arnott said most of the harm suffered by the visitors’ center is cosmetic damage to the walls, which were beat up and scuffed, and damage to merchandise on display in the gift shop.
He said an insurance adjuster would be visiting Thursday to assess the cost of the damage.
“Luckily, there is a concrete floor,” Marascio said, and the doors did not provide any structural support for the building. He said the damage appeared to be confined to the items the car hit along the way, and the car itself sustained only minimal damage.
“It could have been a lot worse,” Marascio added.
Arnott said a temporary door has been erected, and the building is functional.
“The carpenters came out and secured the site,” he said. “All is well. We’re open for business. Come and visit us. Spring is coming.”
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