, Newburyport, MA

October 6, 2012

White SUV sought after hit-and-run

By Mac Cerullo Staff Writer
Newburyport Daily News

---- — NEWBURYPORT — Police are investigating a hit-and-run incident in which a white SUV reportedly struck a new minivan owned by the Salvation Army.

Newburyport Police said the incident occurred on Water Street around 12:30 p.m. Thursday. Witnesses told police that a white SUV hit the minivan while it was parked outside of The Salvation Army building, taking its side mirror clean off. The vehicle reportedly continued down Water Street toward Plum Island without stopping.

Salvation Army Lt. Jeff Brunelle, who manages the Army’s Newburyport chapter, said he isn’t sure exactly how much it will cost to fix the damage, but he said the company’s insurance will pay for most of it. Since they don’t know who was driving the other vehicle, however, the Salvation Army is on the hook for a $500 deductible unless the driver of the other vehicle can be found.

“We are hoping that perhaps someone saw what happened, or the driver would come forward,” Brunelle said. “That $500 deductible that we have to pay, if we can’t identify the driver of the other vehicle, could have gone to helping area families in need instead.”

In addition to losing $500 that otherwise would have been used to help families, the incident also means the Salvation Army will be without one of its two transportation vehicles until the damage can be fixed.

Brunelle said the Salvation Army uses the minivan to transport people to and from its local programs, particularly local area children who are enrolled in their after-school program. While the van is technically still in drivable condition, Brunelle said they won’t be using the van until it’s fixed because transporting children without a side mirror would be dangerous and possibly illegal.

“It’s a brand-new vehicle that we just got this year, so we’ll have to take it to a body shop, we don’t have an estimate on how long it’ll take,” Brunelle said. “We hope the damage is isolated to fixing the mirror itself.”

Brunelle said the Newburyport Police told him that no plates or additional details about the white SUV could be provided by witnesses, and as a result he is not optimistic that any suspects will be found. Regardless, anyone with information about the hit and run accident should call the Newburyport Police at 978-462-4411.