Pickup plunges into post office | RecordCourier.com

Pickup plunges into post office

by Jeff Munson

The Minden post office lobby remains closed after an 83-year-old man with a recent history of strokes plowed through the front window in a pickup.

No injuries were reported as a result of the 5:45 p.m. Thursday accident. Postal officials were not sure when the lobby would re-open, though residents can still pick up mail at their respective boxes.

Authorities said the driver, Garnett Clinton Duncan of Minden, appeared to have lost control of his pickup before turning toward the post office, driving over a grass island and taking a sharp left turn into the building.

“I came in to get my mail (and) saw him cut the corner, barely missing my car,” said Mark Petersen, a witness. “He took a hard left to avoid traffic and slammed into the glass.”

Authorities confirmed Duncan tried to avoid going onto Highway 395.

“The driver had no choice but to enter the front grass area of the post office,” according to a Douglas County sheriff’s report.

The pickup, which stopped inside the waiting area of the post office, smashed through a large window, tearing out counters and shelves. Postal authorities have not estimated the cost of the damage, which was classified as “major” by the sheriff’s department.

Dianne Cribbs, a Minden post office window clerk, said she was locking the back door, preparing to go home, when she heard a crash.

“At first, I didn’t know what happened. I didn’t know if someone was angry or what. Then I came around the back, looked in and saw the man. He looked a little disoriented,” Cribbs said.

Duncan told authorities he didn’t recall the accident and assumed the accelerator had stuck. His wife was called to the scene, and she later told authorities Duncan had suffered from “minor strokes” recently.

The accident, which occurred about 45 minutes after the post office closed, drew a number of onlookers, who expressed relief customers weren’t in the building.

“All I can say is thank God this happened at night instead of noon today,” said Robert Gialloreto of Virginia City, who was in Minden for the day. “Can you imagine what would have happened had there been people inside? There would be people dead for sure.”

Post office lobbies in Genoa and Gardnerville will be open today. The Genoa post office will be open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and the Gardnerville post office will be open from noon to 2 p.m.

Postal officials said the Minden lobby could open next week.