LUMBERTON — A brief police chase in downtown Lumberton this week ended after the fleeing driver struck a 104-year-old, according to a police report.
Fortunately, the centenarian is a building built around 1910. Unfortunately, it is the Robeson County History Museum, and a chunk of its original facade was lost in the wreck.
“It messed up the original front of the building, around one of the many windows,” said Blake Tyner, the museum’s executive director and curator. “It took out the wood column and the area up under the main window there.”
The pursuit began at about 11:30 p.m. on Wednesday when a Lumberton police officer spotted a white 1996 Ford Explorer that matched the description of a vehicle seen carrying people firing shots in the Rozier Homes area earlier, according to a police report.
The officer flicked on the patrol car’s lights and siren near First and Chippewa streets, but the driver kept going, running a stop sign at the intersection of First and Chestnut streets, the report said.
After running another stop sign at First and South Elm, the driver reportedly lost control of his vehicle, striking the front of the museum.
“Luckily it was at night so there wasn’t anybody around. Normally there’d be a tour around there. That’s actually where we pose the kids when we take pictures,” Tyner said.
The museum is also currently operating on its summer schedule and is open by appointment only until September.
The driver was not deterred by the edifice and proceeded on South Elm Street towards Alamac Road. After about a mile, he stopped the car on Macon Street, got out and ran, the report said.
Daron Jacobs, 29, of South Rozier Street, Lumberton, was arrested and charged with resisting an officer, misdemeanor hit-and-run and failure to stop for sirens. He was jailed under a $2,500 secured bond.
Tyner said he found out about the incident from the museum caretaker, who happened to drive by the next morning and promptly put up a piece of plywood over the damage.
“It was very disheartening …,” he said.
The police report estimates the damage at about $2,000, but Tyner anticipates the bill to restore the facade to its original detail may end up being a little more daunting.
“We rely completely on donations … mainly it’s the donations of history lovers that keep us going,” Tyner said.
No major injuries were reported and no damage was done to any artifacts inside.