Alleged drunk driver who crashed into historic Belleville fountain must pay for repairs

Alleged drunk driver who crashed into historic Belleville fountain must pay for repairs

Alleged drunk driver who crashed into historic Belleville fountain must pay for repairs

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by Chris Stanford / News 4

KMOV.com

Posted on May 7, 2014 at 7:10 PM

Updated Thursday, May 8 at 6:30 AM

(KMOV.com) - The Belleville mayor says the driver cited with DUI after driving a car into the Veteran’s Memorial Fountain will be paying for the damages.

Police said Christopher J. Willingham crashed his vehicle into the fountain over the Easter weekend causing minor damage to the city landmark.  Police said Willingham suffered minor injuries from the crash and was also cited with failing to reduce speed to avoid an accident.

The city has repaired chipped concrete and is waiting on parts to fix a busted jet, all damaged in the crash, but officials said the most expense bill has not yet arrived.

A tow truck with an extension was ordered to remove the car from the fountain to avoid further damage.  Mayor Mark Eckert said Willingham will be paying for the tow bill and every single expense incurred by the city to repair the fountain.

Eckert estimated the total repair costs would be between $5,000 and $10,000.

“Nobody ran him into the fountain,” said Eckert.  “He drove into the fountain in the middle of the night, and he ultimately has to be responsible for his actions.”

Because of fluid that leaked out of the vehicle after the crash, the 26,000 gallon fountain will be drained twice and refilled. Eckert said the cost of filling the pool and the employee overtime for repairs will also be paid for by Willingham.

News 4’s attempted to obtain a comment from Christopher Willingham Wednesday, but did not hear back from him.

If Willingham does not have insurance to cover the cost of damages to the fountain, Eckert said the city will be taking him to court.

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