CHELSEA — For the next several weeks, Chelsea’s town board meetings are to be held at alternate locations while the Town Office, damaged last Wednesday when hit by an automobile, undergoes repairs.

A wall at the Chelsea Town Office was damaged last Wednesday when hit by an automobile. Courtesy of Gardiner Fire Department

Michael Pushard, chairman of the Chelsea Board of Selectmen, said Monday town officials had begun seeking estimates to repair a hole in the Town Office’s rear wall.

“It appears a lady was pulling into the Town Office, and the eyewitness that was there said she came around the back of the building where our recycling bins are,” Pushard said. “It appears she went to step on the brake and her foot slipped off the pedal and hit the accelerator and basically all but went through the wall.”

Pushard said no one was seriously injured.

Rick Sieberg, Gardiner’s fire chief, said Gardiner Rescue responded to the crash but did not take anyone to the hospital.

Maine State Trooper Tyler Harrington, who responded to the accident, said no ticket was issued in the incident because it was an accident.


Harrington said the driver’s vehicle, a Dodge Nitro, was barely damaged in the incident. He said her vehicle launched into the building when her footwear slipped off the break and hit the gas pedal.

“The funny thing is that there was barely any damage to her vehicle. It’s the weirdest thing,” Harrington said. “The wall is caved in to the point where they had to evacuate the Town Office, but her Dodge literally had a couple of scrapes and we had to peel the fender from the driver’s side tire because it was rubbing on the tire.”

As the result of impact, a section of the wall in the code enforcement office was pushed in, breaking brick, framing and wallboard, and bowing in the baseboard heating.

The Chelsea Town Office was evacuated last Wednesday after a vehicle hit the side of the building, damaging the area near the code enforcement office. Courtesy of Maine State Police

Pushard said a temporary wall and braces have been erected to stabilize the building, and materials normally stored in that area have been moved to the meeting room and the office used by the assessor.

“We need a bricklayer, we need a carpenter, we need an electrician and a boiler technician,” he said, noting the woman’s insurance company has contacted the town.

In the meantime, Pushard said, public meetings are expected to be held at Chelsea Elementary School, just north of the Town Office, on Togus Road, or at the Chelsea Grange Hall, south of the Town Office, on Togus Road, which is also Route 226. That information is to be posted on the town’s website —


Wednesday’s Board of Selectmen meeting is to be held at Chelsea Elementary School.

Pushard said the crash is not expected to speed up consideration of a new Town Office.

For several years, town officials have been looking into what it would take to replace the existing facility. Pushard said a Town Office committee, composed of Chelsea’s three selectmen, town manager, clerks and several residents, has met twice to review ideas for what committee members want in a new Town Office.

“We had some blueprints drawn up for a first draft, so to speak,” he said, “and that came in at $1.7 million, and that was really more than what any of us anticipated.”

That estimate reflected the increased prices driven by the higher costs of construction materials and interruptions in the global supply chain, and as a result, the project has been put on hold.

“As much as we would like to have a new Town Office,” Pushard said, “we’re not going to ask the residents to approve something that large, not in this economy.”

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