ONLINE BONUS: The hole as seen Saturday morning.
ONLINE BONUS: The driver had been parked at Hill & Wood Funeral Home.
Music fans nearly lost their smallest venue Friday night when an elderly driver drove a vehicle through a brick wall at the Garage, a converted downtown structure adjacent to Lee Park.
"It was inadvertent," says Charlottesville Police Lieutenant Ronnie Roberts. "The individual put the car in drive instead of reverse."
A dispatch from the Emergency Communication Center indicates that the September 22 incident on North First Street occurred around 10:45pm. The driver, a 69-year-old woman, will not be charged because the accident occurred on private property, according to Roberts.
Roberts says the woman was attempting to leave the adjoining Hill & Wood Funeral Home parking lot and notes that the Toyota Rav4 sustained about $10,000 in damage.
How much damage the Garage sustained isn't yet clear, according to the leader of the church that owns it. The Garage, formerly the garage of the dwelling-turned-office-building known as the Magruder House, belongs to nearby Christ Episcopal Church.
A reporter's return visit found cracks and bowing on the north wall, lending credence to the suggestion by another news source that the vehicle impacted that wall as well. Why the driver, who first crossed a concrete curb, wasn't charged with reckless driving could not be immediately learned.
Church Rector Paul Walker says the congregation's junior warden arrived Saturday morning to shore up the wall, stack the bricks, and cover the gaping hole with a blue tarp. The Church plans not only to rebuild– but to continue concerts as soon as Tuesday, September 25.
"The show goes on," says Walker.