ESSEX – A 78-year-old man recently drove his car into a newly expanded section of the Essex Library.
Bridget Quinn-Carey, Director of Essex Library, said on Aug. 26 around 2 p.m. Deep River resident Leonard Nodelman accidentally slipped his foot onto the accelerator causing his car to drive onto the sidewalk, into a small black light and white wooden bench, and then into the northeast brick wall of the library.
Leonard’s wife, 68-year-old Ellen Nodelman, was also in the vehicle.
Both were transported and treated at Essex Shoreline Clinic for minor injuries.
Quinn-Carey estimates that the light and the bench together have a value of about $400.
The wall which absorbed the impact of the vehicle is the one in front of the library’s program room.
Quinn-Carey said fortunately nobody was in the program room at the time and that the room is only occasionally used by the library to host programs, art exhibits, lectures, and meetings.
It has a capacity to hold a maximum of 65 people and does not house any of the library’s books.
It was part of the library’s Grove Street expansion which opened to the public in November 2006.
Quinn-Carey said the damage “looks pretty bad.”
One day after the incident, remains of the bench were scattered near where a bowed brick wall with large cracks showing the impact of the vehicle.
Yellow caution tape was placed sectioning off a portion of the exterior wall but does not block the sidewalk allowing patrons to walk between the library’s main entrance and the parking lot.
Quinn-Carey confirmed the bench was “damaged beyond repair” and believed the same held true for the light.
The damage happened to a wall only a few feet away from a large picture window which allows those in the program room to look out onto the library’s parking lot and Essex Town Hall.
Outside, several white, red, and green wires stuck out of the ground which used to be located inside the light damaged in the incident.
Inside the program room, the small section of the room that was damaged was cornered off with yellow caution tape.
Large cracks were present in the wall and its drywall was pushed out.
While the town building inspector believes the room is safe, library personnel have shut off the room by posting a “Do Not Enter” sign on the room’s doors which are now locked.
The room is located near the library’s children’s collection and library personnel wanted to ensure wandering children do not get hurt.
“We shut off the room until the engineer gives the go ahead,” Quinn-Carey said.
It is unknown whether charges will be filed against Nodelman since Essex Resident State Trooper Corporal Patrick Bowers, the investigating officer for this incident, was unavailable for comment.
While the Essex Library is open to the public, it is financed through the Essex Library Association, a non-profit organization.
The library is located at 33 West Avenue in Essex and is open Sundays 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., Mondays and Fridays 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesdays through Thursdays, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Saturdays 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.