Park Corner Bistro, a popular Oak Bluffs eatery on the corner of Kennebec Avenue and Healy Way opposite the Oak Bluffs Post Office closed indefinitely after an elderly driver drove into a wall of the building about 8:30 am, Monday morning. There were no injuries but damage to the building was significant.
Police said 91-year-old George Chapman, an Island visitor, was at the wheel of a 2016 Buick Sedan and had pulled into a handicapped parking spot in front of the restaurant when he inadvertently hit the accelerator instead of the brake.
Mr. Chapman had no previous traffic violations on his driving record, according to the police report. In view of the circumstances, Officer Chris Wiggins issued Mr. Chapman a citation for a marked lanes violation so he would not have to return to the Island for court.
Police suggested Mr. Chapman get an evaluation of his fitness to drive before getting behind the wheel again. Mr. Chapman’s daughter, Susan Baehret, a passenger in the car, drove the Buick from the scene.
Although the damage is extensive, Oak Bluffs Building Inspector Mark Barbadoro told The Times on Tuesday morning that repairs may not take long. “Luckily the wall is not a load bearing wall, it’s basically a wall full of windows,” he said. “It usually doesn’t take too long to rebuild a non-load bearing exterior wall. I know the owner is aggressively pursuing repairs. He had a contractor on the site the same day.”
Restaurant owner Jesse Martin could not be reached for comment.