Harrington police, residents baffled by rollover crashes

Weiner Avenue collisions happened in 25-mph zone

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HARRINGTON — One vehicle rollover crash on a quiet residential stretch in the 300 block of Weiner Avenue seems unlikely.

How about two rollovers within a span of five days, then? And on a wide, straight roadway with a 25-mph speed limit?

It’s almost “inconceivable” but true, nearby resident Dennis Flesher said Tuesday, recalling separate incidents March 27 and 31.

“I couldn’t believe the first one and much less, a (few) days later, having a second one,” he said.

“I can’t even imagine it, even at 25 (mph), having a car completely turned over and then one going on its side, too. The odds, I can’t even imagine. I’ve been working it out in my head trying to figure it out.”

According to Harrington police spokesman Capt. Earl Brode, both crashes involved four-door passenger cars striking vehicles that were parked on the street. Both cars passing through the area then rolled over upon impact, he said.

A motorist was cited for inattentive driving for the crash March 27, while the driver in the March 31 collision fled from the scene and remains sought by police, Capt. Brode said.

The driver in the first incident, which occurred at approximately 8:22 a.m., was trapped inside the vehicle and removed by a Harrington police officer and a bystander, authorities said. The motorist was transported to a nearby medical facility with non-life-threatening injuries.

After the second crash, at approximately 11:13 p.m. four days later, witnesses said the driver exited the vehicle and fled. Police described him as a Black male, wearing gray sweatpants.

“He was in the car screaming out the window, and when he got out, he said he wasn’t getting arrested and ran,” Mr. Flesher recounted.

“He ran up my driveway, and later, I found out he went around the house, and I had a fence that he laid down to try to get over it.”

Investigation into the March 31 incident continues, and Capt. Brode said anyone with information can call the police department at 398-4493.

Capt. Brode said he’s baffled about how the rollovers could have happened. He’s a lifelong Harrington resident and knows of no other similar incidents on that block in nearly 40 years.

“When you see an accident, you know by the extent of the damage caused if it was a high-velocity incident,” he said. “With the damage seen on these vehicles involved, I can’t imagine how they would roll over.

“We’ve had accidents there before but not to that magnitude.”

In the second impact, a parked vehicle was pushed from the side of the street, over a curb and into a nearby driveway. Weiner Avenue resident Ray Hase was in his home watching a movie, “and all of a sudden, I heard a ‘boom’ and saw a big flash out of the window.

“I came out and saw it in (my neighbor’s) driveway and said to myself, ‘It’s not supposed to be there,’” he said of his sister’s vehicle that was struck.

“It was crazy. I wasn’t ready for it, not at all. Especially two times in one week. ... I’ve lived here 20 years, and nothing this crazy has ever happened,” Mr. Hase said.

He offered some advice for motorists passing through.

“I guess people just need to watch their speed,” he said. “There’s kids out here all the time, so flying down this road is not safe for anyone, clearly.”

Recent rollovers in the Harrington area weren’t limited to Weiner Avenue — a single vehicle overturned on U.S. 13, north of Winkler Road, early Monday, and an occupant was transported to a local hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, the Harrington Fire Co. said. Delaware State Police are investigating that incident.