An SUV slammed into Ashland Fire & Rescue's Station No. 1 Tuesday night and punched a hole in the structure after the car abruptly left the road, plowed through a flower bed and sliced through a designer light pole and fire hydrant.
The incident happened about 5:35 p.m. Ashland Fire officials reported a Jeep Grand Cherokee traveling north on Siskiyou Boulevard toward downtown suddenly swerved off the road and drove through the station's flower bed. The driver, a woman whose name was not immediately available, then pulled back onto the road before the vehicle left it again mere meters later, slamming into the station near the engine bays.
"She impacted the station with such a great force that it actually moved her car into a parallel parking position with a traffic control pole and the station," said Ashland Fire battalion chief Dana Sallee. "It actually had to be slid out sideways."
No one was hurt in the impact, Sallee said. A notification for a car crash came over the station's intercom.
"We kind of assumed it was a fender bender type of an accident," Sallee said.
A lane of Siskiyou Boulevard was blocked for two hours following the crash. Both lanes had to be blocked for about 20 minutes while the car was pulled from the sidewalk and towed away. The woman, the car's sole occupant, was transported to Ashland Community Hospital. Her status is not known at this time. No one else was injured in the impact.
Sallee said the damaged light pole cost about $2,500 alone. Damage to the fire hydrant is minimal, as hydrants are built as "breakaway" units that are made to shear off if struck by a vehicle. Damage to the station could exceed $30,000, officials said. Drywall has been pushed into the station's interior, and the impact left a three-foot hole that has since been covered to keep out moisture.
The reason for the crash remains under investigation. It's not yet known if the woman will be cited. Calls to the Ashland Police Department were not immediately returned.
"We can't even speculate on what's going on," Sallee said. "It's very, very interesting."
— Ryan Pfeil