Hudson police believe they know who crashed an SUV into the porch of the historic Octagon House on Third Street early Saturday morning.
The officer responding to the 1 a.m. crash found a driver’s license inside the 2002 Chevrolet Blazer, apparently left by the driver who fled from the scene.
Police Chief Marty Jensen said Tuesday that an Anoka County, Minn., man will be charged with numerous traffic violations in connection with the crash. Jensen declined to name the man until the citations are delivered to him.
A man and a woman walking home on Third Street during the early hours of Saturday witnessed the crash, according to Jensen.
The couple said they saw the southbound SUV swerve west and then east, continuing over the curb and the short stump of a maple tree, before hitting the Octagon House’s wrap-around porch.
The vehicle came to a stop next to the foundation of the home built in 1855 and now on the National Register of Historic Places. The St. County Historical Society operates it as a museum.
The witnesses said the driver tried to back out of the broken porch, but was unable to. When they reached the vehicle, he was gone.
Jensen said a police officer went to the Hudson residence of a woman believed to be the suspect’s girlfriend, but no one came to the door.
As of Monday morning, the police department still hadn’t made contact with the suspect. The SUV, registered to the suspected driver’s father, is in the police department’s impound lot.
Jensen said the officer investigating the accident works the night shift and would be making another attempt to contact the driver later Monday.
Octagon House Museum Director Heidi Rushmann told the Eau Claire Leader-Telegram that two large porch pillars were knocked down in the crash. She said rocking chairs and planters that were on the porch also were damaged.
Rushmann said the house itself appeared to be OK. There was no noticeable damage to doors, windows or walls.
Rushmann told the Eau Claire newspaper it may take more time and money than normal to repair the porch because the historical integrity of the unique eight-sided house must be maintained.
November and December are the busiest months for the Octagon House because of the annual Christmas Tour of Homes and holiday season tours.