By JOHN ROSSOMANDO
Special to Tri County
WEST NANTMEAL - Township officials had a big surprise last Tuesday morning, when a Buick LeSabre driven by an elderly township resident sla-mmed into the rear of the township building.
Tire tracks were visible for approximately 1,000 feet from the impact site.
It happened at approximately 8 a.m., after the woman backed out of her driveway, located approximately a quarter-mile north of the township buil-ding along Route 82.
Officials were notified almost immediately after a friend of supervisors' Ch-airman Gary Elston called him to let him know what he had heard on the police scanner.
Supervisor Raymond Beiler, who said he has known the woman in-volved in the crash for many years, said her vehicle traveled across a barley field on the opposite side of Route 82 before plowing into the rear of the township building at app-roximately 90 mph.
"Gary (Elston) called me to warn me, so I didn't faint when I got into the building," said Township Secretary Susan Ward, who arrived for work about an hour later, at 9 a.m. "He said a car hit the building and there was structural damage, so that I would be aware of what was going on when I got there and saw fire en-gines."
Ward said she had vis-ions of a car in her office prior to her arrival in the building, but that proved not to be the case.
The building was unoccupied at the time, and no one was injured with the exception of the elderly driver, whose identity is being withheld. The driver was taken in an ambulance to Reading Hospital.
"Something must have happened with her," Beiler said. "It's amazing that she didn't take out the air conditioner or hit our gas line."
Beiler said first responders from Elverson Ambu-lance and the Twin Valley Fire Department had considered airlifting the wo-man from the scene, but her injuries were deemed not severe enough to warrant flying her out.
"It is amazing her in-juries were not more se-vere," Elston said. "Had she hit the building more to the driver's side, she could have been killed."
The vehicle's roof needed removal prior to the elderly woman's extrication.
Elston said the woman had no memory of the im-pact when spoken to by her rescuers.
"She's lived in this community for a long time, and it's not like she didn't know her way around," he said.
Reading Hospital spo-keswoman Marian Hails said the woman was listed in serious condition as of last Tuesday afternoon, although her exact injuries were not disclosed.
Investigating state po-lice Trooper Janssen Herb said it was too preliminary to get any idea of what happened with the woman medically to precipitate the crash because he had yet to speak with her doctors.
The crash left a hole in the garage section of the building that was 61/2 feet wide by approximately 4 1/2 feet high with cinder blocks strewn inside the building and the nearby lawn.
Inside the garage, Bei-ler's wooden tool bench was demolished, as was the wall, where now only a hole remains.
Beiler said he was un-aware of any similar incidences in the woman's past.
Township officials said they expected an insurance adjuster to examine the damage in the next day or so.