Lamar Park precinct to be ready for runoff

By HASKEL BURNS,

It’ll apparently take a little more than a car crashing through the building to deter the voting process at the Lamar Park voting precinct on Pinewood Drive.

A week after an SUV ran through the building during last Tuesday’s primary election, repairs are ongoing and officials say the facility will be up and ready for the runoff election on Aug. 27.

“The precinct will be open on election day,” Lamar County Circuit Clerk Martin Hankins said. “There was one machine that was hit, and the printer housing got jammed and a little damaged, but we’re going to be able to repair that.

“It still counted all the ballots on that machine; it counted all the tallies and everything.”

Lamar County Administrator Jody Waits said the cost of the damage to the building is estimated at approximately $5,000, which will be covered by the driver’s insurance. County Buildings and Grounds employees will cover the repairs, with the exception of the brickwork.

The incident occurred at approximately 6:15 p.m. last Tuesday – about 45 minutes before the polls closed – when a driver apparently thought he had the vehicle in “Park” and accelerated, crashing through the building and coming to rest in the lobby of the facility.

“It didn’t impede the voting process; they just kind of moved the machines over,” Lamar County Sheriff Danny Rigel said. “Basically, you had an SUV inside the voting precinct on one side, and the voting machines on the other. So it didn’t stop anything.”

The driver didn’t suffer any injuries, but the bumper of the SUV clipped a woman inside the precinct. The woman declined medical treatment at the scene.

“She said she was going to drive herself to the hospital, just to get checked out,” Rigel said. “She had minor injuries on the scene. But it didn’t stop the voting process or anything like that.”

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