Garage banned? Nope, big hole can't stop tiny venue

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.

Read more on: the garage


Good news - love this space and so glad they will rebuild.
Tom Daly's picture is outstanding !

Old People and car keys. Never a good mix.

Grandma has to be the opener for the headliner.

Looks like she already opened to me.

Not only did she put it in drive instead of reverse, but she apparently also slammed down the accelerator. Thank goodness no one was hurt.

@Lost in Space: I went back to the scene and updated the story to emphasize how hazardous this situation could have been.--hawes spencer

This situation doesn't make sense to me. The driver at fault must have--as @Lost In Space said--been accelerating rather quickly into what she thought was reverse. But more than that, she also proceeded to keep driving after she went over the concrete parking bumper (which would signal most drivers that something was not right). It sounds very reckless and like something else was a factor here. I hope she is paying to rebuild the wall.

they should keep the hole. they've doubled their audience capacity and now they can make money on the side.

People can be very upset and drive badly when leaving funeral homes.(a funeral home operates the parking lot)

Hooray for the church that will keep this great little venue going! If it weren't for several churches in town (Westminster, TJ Unitarian, etc.), some of our best venues would never have existed (The Prism, The Haven, etc).