Among seven charges brought against the operator of the vehicle there are two counts of motor vehicle hit and run, one count of operating unlicensed, and one count of operating to endanger. (Courtesy of UMass Lowell PD)
Just before 7 a.m. on Monday, Sept. 18, a vehicle crashed into the newly erected Pulichino Tong Business Center on North Campus. Deputy Chief of UMass Lowell Police Department Ronald Dickerson said the driver, Genesis Moreno, was heading south towards the intersection at University Avenue and Riverside Street, swerved to avoid traffic, jumped two curbs and crashed into an empty classroom on the backside of the business building.
Moreno lost control of the vehicle due to her speed, and Dickerson said it broke three 16-foot-tall panes of glass. He also said that “the metal mounts were also damaged. The vehicle hit an interior support for the building.”
Dickerson said Moreno was charged with two counts of motor vehicle hit and run, operating a motor vehicle without a license, operating to endanger, a marked lane violation, failure to stop at a red light and providing a false name to a police officer.
The Pulichino Tong building was not the only victim. Moreno hit two other vehicles before crashing into UMass Lowell’s new business building.
Dickerson said, “We were notified by the Lowell Police Department they were investigating a hit and run accident on University Ave. It was the vehicle that crashed into the building that was the suspect vehicle.”
Luckily, classes had not started for the day and no students or faculty were injured. Both Moreno and the passenger in the car were brought to a local hospital with minor injuries.
The classroom, which was closed that morning, has since been temporarily repaired with wood paneling to close the gaps between the standing glass. TJ McCarthy, director of Operations and Services at UMass Lowell Facilities Management, said, “There was damage to the substructure underneath the glass, but no damage to the building.”
When asked about a time frame for when the building would be completely repaired, McCarthy said, “Definitely this semester, hopefully before winter starts.”
The pieces of glass and metal were custom made for the building, and it will take some time for them to be replaced, he said. While describing the complicated repair, McCarthy said Facilities is meeting with the architect and construction company for the building.
As Facilities Management put up a temporary repair so quickly, McCarthy said, “I want to commend UMass Facility folks for at least getting the class up and operable in the days after.”
Dickerson said he is unable to recall any other car accidents involving buildings on campus during his six-year tenure with the university.
When asked if the university is taking any steps to prevent another crash like this from happening, Dickerson said, “If that was discussed, I’m not aware of it.”
Dickerson also said that this type of accident is not something anyone was expecting to happen, nor is it expected to happen again.
For students interested in more information on any incident on campus, Dickerson said, “You can always just come down to the dispatch window if you had a question on a particular report.”