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A car collided with Harbor Auto Body at 98 Main St. in Townsend on Thursday night. No injuries were reported. (Photo courtesy Harbor Auto Body)
A car collided with Harbor Auto Body at 98 Main St. in Townsend on Thursday night. No injuries were reported. (Photo courtesy Harbor Auto Body)
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TOWNSEND — No one was hurt Thursday evening when a van plowed into Harbor Auto Body at 98 Main St., which is owned by Selectman Joe Shank.

Shank said the driver collided with the building next to the garage bay, causing damage to steel beams and wall bricks. Employees toolboxes were thrown up to 15 feet across the shop, he added.

“My biggest concern was that (the driver) wasn’t injured. Buildings can get fixed,” Shank said.

Police Lt. Mark Giancotti said the driver was traveling eastbound on Main Street around 7:30 p.m. and had tried to avoid an animal in the roadway. He described the driving conditions as “dark and raining,” by the time the driver had reacted to brake, they had collided with the building. He said the driver presented no signs of impairment and was checked by EMS for injuries, of which none were reported.

Shank said he was “at a loss for words” upon hearing the news, but was “proud” of the town’s first responders who assisted in the call.

“There were six vehicles parked in the front lot last night, and one inside the building that was just completely done, right in the bay door. He never hit a single one of those vehicles. God was with him and let me tell you,” Shank said.

Throughout the day Friday, Shank said the shop received a “tremendous outpouring of support” from the local community, including people who offered to help clean and pick up debris. He said his insurance company was sending an emergency response team from Rhode Island and the company would still be able to work.

“The community has supported me for the past 50 years, so I have no reason to ask for any more than what they’ve always done. And also, I mean, I’ve got insurance I’ve got what I need,” Shank said.

Harbor Auto Body has been a fixture of the Townsend community for decades. Shank opened the business with his wife Elaine in 1973, then known-as Joe’s Auto Body. Shank said the company moved to its current location about 20 years ago.