Shawn J. Soper
BERLIN – A local man was killed and his passenger was critically injured this week when the van he was driving slammed into the side of a bank in the heart of downtown Berlin early Wednesday morning.
Shortly before 9 a.m., a mini-van driven by Anthony Mumford, 50, of Bishopville, barreled down Williams Street at a high rate of speed, failed to stop at a stop sign at the intersection of William and Bay streets and slammed into the side of the PNC Bank branch on Main Street.
Mumford, a 1978 Stephen Decatur High School graduate, was pronounced deceased at the scene, while his passenger, Evelyn McCray, 47, of Berlin was flown to Peninsula Regional Medical Center in Salisbury with serious injuries. As of late yesterday, McCray was still listed in critical condition.
The investigation is ongoing. Speed is considered a contributing factor, although police are also exploring the possibility of mechanical failure or a medical issue with the driver. Alcohol has been ruled out as a contributing factor in the accident.
The force of the collision severely damaged the old bank branch, which remained closed yesterday. Bricks spilled into the roadway and the window at the point of collision, protected somewhat by metal bars was shattered. One bank employee, Theresa Wheaton, 56, of Newark, was injured as she sat at her desk and was taken to Atlantic General Hospital where she was treated and released. A private citizen conducting business at the bank was also injured by the shattered glass and was taken to AGH where she was treated and released.
The accident closed William Street all day Wednesday and barricades blocking Main Street remained as of yesterday afternoon.
Wednesday’s accident was at least the second involving a vehicle crashing into the same bank branch. Last March, a vehicle slammed into the side of the bank facing William Street, causing significant damage to the same area of the building damaged during Wednesday’s accident.