Campus & Community / Magazine Feature

Library struck by vehicle

A mid-size SUV careened off eastbound Evans Avenue shortly before 10 a.m. August 10, veering across two lanes of traffic before crashing into the north side of the DU’s Penrose Library.

The impact shattered windows in one of the library’s quiet study rooms near the northeast corner of the building, and the lone occupant of the vehicle was taken by ambulance to a hospital. No one inside the library was hurt.

Richard Chapman, a staff writer for DU’s office of University Communications, was walking east on the sidewalk next to the library when he witnessed the crash.

“The Jeep was heading east just before 10 a.m. when it suddenly swerved up onto the median on Evans Avenue, then bounced back down onto the roadway. It missed a heavy, metal light pole, but not the library. The Jeep hit Penrose at an angle. Air bags deployed; smoke and steam billowed. Three motorists screeched to a stop in traffic, bolted across the grass outside the library and turned off the engine. They began rendering aid.”

Chapman said police arrived within a minute of his 911 call, and fire officials arrived moments later. He says it’s lucky no one on the sidewalk or inside Penrose was hurt.

“Traffic at that hour was thin and there were no pedestrians on the sidewalk — except me, of course,” Chapman says. “I was seconds from being involved. If I had been walking faster, and if the accident had happened behind me instead of in front of me, the outcome might have been different. I was lucky.”

Penrose Assistant Director Theresa Hernandez says no one was inside the ground floor study room at the time of the crash. The windows have been boarded up, and the room will remain closed until repairs are made.

Penrose Library will continue to maintain its current summer hours.

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