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Collision at Collision Center

By Staff | Apr 4, 2018

This 1948 Ford tow truck was only one of several vehicles and objects severely damaged late Friday evening while a drunk driver was pursued into the borough of Hughesville.

HUGHESVILLE – On Friday March 31, at about midnight, a vehicle chase and crash along South Main Street in Hughesville resulted in many asking the question, “Will the old tow truck be fixed?”

This was also the inquiry of a man passing by mid Saturday afternoon. When asked if he were a local, he replied, “I live an hour and twenty minutes away and pass here daily on my way to work. I always look at that truck, I hope they repair it.”

The 1948 F-5 truck parked at 65 South Main Street, the site of the Murray Motors Collision Center, is the same site where its service began 70 years ago. According to a Luminary file story, the 4-ton truck was one of the first vehicles purchased after WWII from John Turner at what was then Turner’s Garage. The truck’s first owner was Sam Fought, proprietor of Fought’s Grist Mill who used it for deliveries. Eldon Whipple, the second owner, removed the bed and fitted it to serve as a tow truck. When Whipple upgraded in 1967, the Ford was sold to Ray Brown of Murray Motors where it was restored in 2014 by Murray’s shop manager, Joe Stover.

As of Monday morning, the fate of the truck is unknown. A Murray’s employee’s answer was, “We don’t know yet, we’re waiting to see what the insurance company does.”

The vintage Ford truck was among many vehicles and objects damaged or demolished when 36-year-old Vincent Rizzo of Upper Fairfield Township sped through the borough at 90 miles per hour.

According to news reports, Rizzo was pursued by state police when his pickup truck was seen swerving while traveling north on Route 405. The driver, suspected of being intoxicated, ran the red traffic light at Main and Cemetery streets, and near Academy Street, hit a parked truck. A utility pole at Baxter’s Plumbing was sheared off, as were two borough street lights and a pole light on Murray Motor’s lot. The latter fell onto the adjoining house damaging the siding where the pursuit ended.

A resident along South Main Street’s 300 block said, “I heard a whoosh, then a couple of short bleeps of a siren as the chase entered the borough limits. Alan Colabine reported hearing the first impact to a pickup truck three doors south of him. “I had not gone to bed yet; I heard the loud crash and called 911.” Colabine, a lifelong resident and photo journalist said, “I can’t recall any crash in town that caused as much destruction. I often told neighbors; don’t park on the street overnight.”

The assailant was taken to UPMC Susquehanna Williamsport Regional Medical Center and when discharged placed in police custody where he was arraigned about 6 a.m. Saturday morning. Charges include a felony for fleeing police, resisting arrest, driving under the influence and numerous traffic violations. Rizzo’s bail was set at $50,000 after which he was committed to the Lycoming County Prison.