Car Crashes into Historical Society

FAIR OAKS, CA (MPG)   |  Story by Shaunna Boyd
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On September 15, 2018, a car crashed into the Fair Oaks Historical Society. The driver was pulling into a parking space in front of the Historical Society and inadvertently hit the gas instead of the brake. Photo by Jim Pearce.

FAIR OAKS, CA (MPG) - On the morning of September 15, 2018, as community members in Fair Oaks Village were busy preparing for the annual Chicken Festival, a car crashed through one of the front walls of the Fair Oaks Historical Society. The driver of the 2013 Honda Accord was a 78-year-old woman from Sacramento. She explained that she was attempting to park and as she pulled into a space in front of the Historical Society she inadvertently hit the gas instead of the brake, causing her vehicle to crash into the building.

The Historical Society is located at 10340 Fair Oaks Blvd. Because roads in the Village were blocked off to vehicle traffic for the Chicken Festival, Fair Oaks Blvd. was the only open thoroughfare at that time. According to Ralph Carhart, Fair Oaks Historical Society newsletter editor and Fair Oaks Recreation and Park District board member, the driver was trying to find parking and made a U-turn to avoid the festival blockade.

The Historical Society is open to visitors on Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and they were planning to operate during their usual hours on the day of the festival. Due to this incident, they were not able to open to the public, but Carhart joked, “We were having an ‘open house’ with true indoor parking.”

Jim Pearce, president of Fair Oaks Historical Society, said, “By the time I got there, about 15 or 20 minutes after it happened, the Chamber of Commerce, the Parks Department, the Water Department, the Fire Department, and the Highway Patrol were all already out front.”

California Highway Patrol Public Information Officer Tommy Riggin confirmed that the crash was not alcohol related, but was simply an accident. No charges were filed, and the driver did not even receive a ticket since the incident occurred on private property.

Even though the members of the Fair Oaks Recreation and Park District were busy with the Chicken Festival, they brought over plywood to board up the damage to the Historical Society. The Fair Oaks Water District provided a saw, drill, and screws to put up the boards and then they disposed of the debris. Pearce said, “Everyone really responded. That’s what I love about Fair Oaks; everyone really helps out.”

The vehicle crashed through a front wall of the Historical Society, but luckily missed the arbor in the front, and avoided the expensive doors and window sign. Only one display case inside was destroyed. Since the car did not damage the main structure, the Historical Society remains open to visitors on Saturdays and Sundays. The damaged area is easily roped off and does not interfere with viewing the displays.

Pearce explained that there was a lot of potential danger, with possible injury to the driver, or a possible fire or gas explosion from the crash, but luckily no one was hurt and the damage is relatively minimal. He said of all the businesses in the area that the driver could have crashed into, the Historical Society was really the best spot it could have happened. He is especially thankful that the incident did not occur at the business next door, EJ’s Little People Hair Salon, since there were children in that building at the time.

The Historical Society is in the process of dealing with the insurance company and scheduling the work with a contractor. Pearce expects that the repairs will be completed approximately one month from now.