BANGOR – A motorist who drove across lawns and sidewalks before crashing into a vacant storefront on Garland Street Friday said he blacked out while behind the wheel.
The late morning accident sent two people to the hospital, damaged both the SUV and the building’s front door and surprised and unnerved some neighbors.
“We felt the whole house shake,” said Tamara Kirchbaum, 29, who lives in the apartment attached to the vacant store at the corner of Garland Street and Parkview Avenue. Going out to see what happened, Kirchbaum and her family found that the SUV slammed into the front door of the store and bounced back into the road.
The driver, Phillip Church, 74, and his passenger, Kathy Quinn, 51, were both taken to St. Joseph Hospital where Church remained in fair condition Friday night. Quinn was released from the hospital, a nursing supervisor said.
Church’s SUV knocked down a traffic sign on a sidewalk. It drove so close to one house that the driver’s side wheels went over three or four of the front steps at the corner of Garland and Palm streets.
The SUV then crossed Palm Street onto another lawn and then back onto Garland Street and then nearly struck a car that had pulled up and stopped at the intersection of Parkview Avenue and Garland Street, witnesses said. The SUV then went up the stone steps and hit the storefront, formerly an upholstery business.
Church told the officer that he couldn’t remember what happened. “He said he totally blacked out,” said Bangor police Officer Larry Morrill.