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Lost trucker takes destructive turnaround in Bellco Credit Union parking lot in Spring Township

By Ryan Hughes, Reporter, RHughes@wfmz.com
Published On: Oct 16 2012 09:37:02 AM CDT
Updated On: Oct 16 2012 05:26:10 PM CDT

A lost trucker did quite a bit of damage to a Bellco Credit Union branch hours before its scheduled ribbon cutting.

SPRING TWP., Pa. -

Hours before a ribbon cutting celebration at a new credit union, a lost trucker crashed the party.

An 18-wheeler plowed into the brand new Bellco Federal Credit Union off Route 724 in Spring Twp., Berks Co., only one month after it opened its doors.   

The driver was headed in the wrong direction, and his destructive turn happened just before 8 a.m. Tuesday morning.

Tire tracks marked the start of tractor trailer's collision course. A stop sign was snapped on its side, a tree uprooted and concrete shattered.

"It almost sounded like two trains when they buckle together," said Chris Brister, who witnessed the crash.

It wasn't two trains, but instead an 18-wheeler that tried to turn around through the parking lot of the credit union. It's an ironic crash that happened nearly eight hours before crowds arrived for the ribbon cutting for the credit union's VIP grand opening.

"I saw the truck coming down the straight away, and I saw him come around the back of the bank," said Nick Jablonski, who works at the Cloister Car Wash across the street.

The credit union's surveillance cameras captured what happened in between. The big rig's tire blew after it careened over a concrete light post. Then, around the corner of the branch, cameras showed the truck smack into the roof over the drive thru. Another view showed the truck airborne as debris came raining down.

"Our staff comes in through the back door, and I'm glad they weren't walking in at that time or had their cars parked over there because at the rate of speed he was going, I'm not sure what would have happened," said Kirsten Keim-Shendge, marketing manager for Bellco.

The truck driver was upset and declined an interview, but he told 69 News he was on his way to the Kmart down the road in Cumru Township. His GPS alerted him he was heading in the wrong direction on Route 724, so he pulled into the credit union to turn around.

The truck also suffered enough damage to render it inoperable.

"It could have been a lot worse. A little cosmetic damage isn't going to stop our event," said Keim-Shendge.

The ribbon was still cut, and the branch still opened for business.

Police are still investigating, and they said citations will most likely be filed.