By JOHN HOWELL Angelica Penta is praising four of her customers at Gel's Kitchen as lifesavers following an early morning accident at the intersection of West Shore Road and Buttonwoods Avenue June 3 that sent two people to the hospital and cut
Angelica Penta is praising four of her customers at Gel’s Kitchen as lifesavers following an early morning accident at the intersection of West Shore Road and Buttonwoods Avenue June 3 that sent two people to the hospital and cut electricity to City Hall Annex offices for two days.
The loss of power and internet at the annex nearly forced cancellation of the city tax sale Friday morning in City Hall Council Chambers.
Penta said the crash was audible at the restaurant. She said four members of the U.S. Coast Guard, who were having breakfast at the restaurant, responded immediately.
“The 4 men rushed out to help her (the driver of one car) and grabbed their medical kit from the car. They helped her until the ambulance came. One of them used his belt and put it around her ankle because of an injury. Afterwards my husband was told the man that did that is what saved the person from having a much worse outcome even used the words he saved her life,” Penta posted on the restaurant Facebook page.
Penta listed the four as Garrett Yax, Garrett Schreck, Perco Hammen and Justin Thornton.
According to the Warwick Police report, Lisa Corley Grudain, 61, was driving west on West Shore Road shortly after 7 a.m. when she began feeling faint. She told police she lost consciousness and did not wake up until witnesses (the four members of the Coast Guard) were removing her from the scene.
Police determined that after losing consciousness, Grudain Corley rear-ended a car driven by Benjamin Butler, 87, leaving it disabled. Grudain Corley’s car then accelerated through the intersection, mounting the curb and driving through the bus stop before coming to a stop against a utility pole, bringing down wires across the road and cutting power in the area.
It was about this time that Tax Collector Kayla Jones and members of her staff started reporting for work in preparation of the first tax sale in two years the following morning. Without power or internet, they weren’t able to update accounts of those people attempting to make 11th-hour payments to avoid the sale. Jones was able to gain access to the system with her laptop until the battery died.
The annex was still on generator power Friday but lacked internet connections. Tax sale transactions had to be done on paper.
Postponing the tax sale would have required starting the process from the beginning, taking more than a month of certifying amounts due plus re-advertising the sale. Jones estimated the cost of postponing the sale at more than $60,000.
With the help of City Treasurer Lynne Prodger and the Sewer Authority, which had a network connection, Jones and her staff were able to conduct the tax sale.
She called the sale the “most stressful ever.”
“I don’t want to ever do that again,” she said.
According to the police report, Corley Grudain was transported to Rhode Island Hospital with serious but not life-threatening injuries to her legs. Butler, who complained of pain, was also taken to the hospital.
As for the tax sale on Friday, Jones reported 142 properties were auctioned for the non-payment of property taxes, utilities and sewer assessments or a combination of the three. She said the sale yielded more than $800,000 in payments.