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RACINE — The city continues to assess the damage to City Hall after a 58-year-old man drove his Dodge Charger into the building on Saturday. The crash occurred on the south side, near Center Street.  

The Racine Fire Department extracted the man from the vehicle. He was taken to Milwaukee where he was reportedly in critical condition.

Driver seriously injured after crashing into Racine City Hall
Significant damage was done to the City Hall building during the crash. – Credit: Brian Bruce

There was also substantial damage to City Hall. The 1930 Neoclassical design was constructed with Indiana limestone over a steel framework.

Although there is no cost estimate yet, a statement from the city indicated repairs are expected to be substantial and time intensive. The visible damage to the building included a lower window that was substantially impacted, several blocks appeared cracked and several were pushed inward.

Maxwell Love, Communications Specialist for the City of Racine, said the office most directly impacted was the Environmental Health Office but City Hall remains open.

“First and foremost, we would like to extend our thanks to the swift and efficient response of the fire, police and public works departments to the incident that happened at City Hall on Saturday night,” Love said.

“Our thoughts are also with the driver’s family during this challenging time,” he added. 

Driver was allegedly speeding before the crash

According to a statement from the Racine Police Department, officers first observed the red Dodge Charger at around 5:55 p.m. when the driver allegedly ran a stop sign.

The officers were on foot near Villa and 10th Streets. The officers got into their squad cars and tried to catch up to the driver, but he continued at an accelerated speed through the residential area and failed to stop at additional stop signs.

Driver seriously injured after crashing into Racine City Hall
The red Dodge Charger had its roof cut off by the Jaws of Life tool for extracting purposes as the driver was trapped inside. – Credit: Brian Bruce

They reportedly lost sight of the vehicle but heard on their radios there had been a crash at City Hall. 

The driver was initially trapped in the vehicle and had to be extracted by the RFD using the Jaws of Life. He was initially taken to Ascension All Saints and then taken via Flight for Life to Froedtert Hospital in Milwaukee with severe injuries.

Pictures by Brian Bruce, a local photographer, showed pieces of the vehicle across the sidewalk and street following the accident.

City Hall designed by prominent local architect 

Racine City Hall was designed by J. Mandor Matson (1890-1963), who immigrated from Norway but lived in Racine for much of his professional career where he gained some prominence.

The Granada Theatre, 1921 Charles St., was one of his designs, as were Washington Park and Horlick High Schools and the Henry Mitchell School.

However, he lost the contract to design SC Johnson’s new headquarters to an architect with greater prominence: Frank Lloyd Wright.

Racine City Hall was completed in 1930 and cost $500,000, according to the Historical Marker Database, which would be almost $9 million when adjusted for inflation to 2023.

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