Updated Wednesdsay June 12
A Ford Explorer plunged off a bulkhead into the harbor near the Reading Room in Edgartown just before 1 pm on Monday after the operator attempted a U-turn and hit the gas instead of the brake, Assistant Fire Chief R. Andrew Kelly said. Edgartown Police identified the driver as William Jones — no age or address was given. Mr. Jones was not injured in the crash.
The Reading Room is located next to Collins Beach in Edgartown.
Mr. Jones was pulled from the his SUV by bystanders. A couple putting their boat into the water at the beach watched the accident unfold, and helped get the man out of his SUV, Assistant Chief Kelly said. Edgartown Police identified the good Samaritans as Richard Sutphin and Wendy Ritch. Mr. Jones was examined in an ambulance and released.
Diane Zvara, who rents a house at 71 South Water St., witnessed the incident from her porch. She described the driver as an elderly man wearing “Nantucket red” shorts. The SUV’s tires got hung up on the bulkhead and continued to scrape and slide, she told The Times. She was worried the SUV might flip over, but it didn’t.
Edgartown harbormaster Charlie Blair and two other members of the harbormaster’s staff joined Police Chief David Rossi and Fire Chief Peter Shemeth, along with several members of their respective departments, in responding to the scene.
A JWL Transport and Towing truck eventually pulled the partially submerged vehicle up onto Collins Beach with the assistance of a diver. Edgartown Police reported the vehicle was deemed totaled.
The Reading Room is a men’s social club with approximately 70 full-time and 80 seasonal members. At one point, Walter Cronkite, the longtime television news broadcaster and Vineyard seasonal resident, was a member. Mr. Jones told Edgartown Police he was a Reading Room member.