School board office crash
Driver pleads guilty to OVI charge
The man responsible for driving a truck through the Marysville Board of Education office on Edgewood Drive pleaded guilty last week to a charge of operating a vehicle under the influence.
He appeared in Marysville Municipal Court before Judge Michael Grigsby.
Marysville Public Information Officer Anna Krutowskis said Ernest William Otto II, of Mt. Pleasant, Mich., was sentenced to 30 days in jail with 27 of those days suspended. The other three will be suspended if he completes an alcohol program.
He was also charged a $750 fine with $375 suspended.
District Superintendent Diane Mankins said when the incident happened, she received a text from police and also heard from the one employee who was in the building at the time of the crash.
"She basically came in, turned the security system off, started back down the hallway and the truck came in behind her," Mankins said. "It was a matter of seconds really -- very lucky."
After Otto's vehicle hit the building, he was transported to Memorial Hospital of Union County with minor injuries. According to police reports, Otto was driving a company truck when he drove through the brick wall after spending the night in Marysville on business.
Mankins said the front lobby and the human resources office are not useable. "There are two offices that are pretty much destroyed," she said.
Board operations have been moved temporarily to the vacant middle school building on Maple Street.
Mankins said staying in the board office while repairs are being done didn't seem like a good option. Visitors would have to enter the building from the back and employees would have to deal with the noise of construction.
"Diane and her entire team of people have done an amazing job to quickly and as smoothly as possible transition our operations to a new location," board President, Jeff Mabee said.
Mankins heaped praise on district employees and the community for the swift reaction to the crisis.
"I just want to reiterate what a special place this is. Everyone was willing to chip in and do whatever it took," she sa id. "It just goes back to the incredible commitment and people we have working in this district. It was outstanding."
Mankins said everyone did a great job handling a bad situation. "To see it kind of makes you sick to your stomach because within an hour, that building would have been full of employees ... two hours and students would have been walking to school," she said.
Treasurer Cindy Ritter said the district is still getting estimates on the damages.