Car crashes into Margaretville Post Office; no injuries reported

By Brian Sweeney
A patron barely jumped to safety when a car crashed through the Margaretville Post Office lobby on Monday morning.

Tammy Alvarado of Shokan was sorting mail at a desk in the lobby shortly before 10 a.m. when Margaretville resident Hannah Tanzer, 76, lost control of her car and the vehicle crashed through the doorway and wound up completely in the lobby.

Hearing a crash, Mrs. Alvarado said she looked up and watched the Tanzer vehicle breaking through the glass door and heading directly at her.

“I heard a loud sound to my right and saw the car getting closer and closer. I screamed and leaped to my left and slammed myself into the post office boxes at the wall,” Mrs. Alvarado told the News. “I think I was probably trying to go through the wall.”
Miraculously, the Tanzer vehicle came to a stop about two feet from Mrs. Alvarado.

Fortunate path
After slamming through the door, the Tanzer car turned slightly to the left and veered into an angled wall on the left side of the lobby containing mail slots. The impact turned the car back to the right, where it crashed into the front wall of the building, also striking the table where Mrs. Alvarado had been sorting mail moments earlier.

The car stopped after striking the wall. After hearing a creak that sounded as if the car were going to move again, Mrs. Alvarado began yelling for someone to shut off the ignition. Mrs. Tanzer was able to turn off the car, but said the vehicle was stuck in neutral.

“I kind of stayed in the corner, but the firemen came right away,” Mrs. Alvarado explained. “Everybody was just there within seconds, but they didn’t know that I was over there at first.”

Fast response
Emergency personnel quickly checked on Mrs. Tanzer’s condition and one of the responders climbed across the car to determine if Mrs. Alvarado had been injured.

Visibly shaken, but uninjured, Mrs. Alvarado told the rescue personnel that she preferred to wait until the car had been moved before exiting the building.

She was given a chair, a jacket and some water and was freed when Margaretville firefighters used a winch to pull the car back several feet so she could get around the vehicle. The car was later pulled from the building by Sanford’s Towing.

Could have been worse
Hours after the incident, Mrs. Alvarado said she was replaying many scenarios in her head. The office manager for Dr. William Cole’s orthodontics practice on Main Street, Mrs. Alvarado noted that she ordinarily she sorts the mail in car.

“If I had not stopped to sort the mail, I would have been walking in the middle of the lobby and had nowhere to escape,” she explained.

“It happened so fast. I thought, ‘Oh my god, is this really happening?’ At that moment, it felt like I was watching a movie where a car was coming through the shattered glass.”

She also realized that if the car had not turned slightly to the left and struck the first wall,“ there was no way I could have escaped.”

Mrs. Alvarado said she felt great sympathy for Mrs. Tanzer.

“She was frantic,” she said of the driver. “She was just really upset, I felt so bad for her.”

State police investigating the incident said that Mrs. Tanzer was attempting to park in a designated spot and could not get her vehicle into park. The vehicle then accelerated through the main entrance of the post office before coming to rest in the lobby. No tickets were issued.
Realizing that the accident could have turned out with far worse consequences for both she and Mrs. Tanzer, Mrs. Alvarado was philosophical.

“So, today’s a good day, I guess,” she commented.
Monday’s accident marked the third time that a vehicle has crashed into the Margaretville Post Office building. The other two incidents involved vehicles colliding with the wall on the Main Street side of the building.