A newly released police report shows the driver who damaged Racine’s Beth Israel Sinai Congregation was issued two citations: one for inattentive driving and one for operating a motor vehicle without insurance.
The Racine man was allegedly on his phone when he hit a parking meter, launching it through two panes of glass and through the sanctuary. Police said he did not appear to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
The crash happened before 5 a.m., Tuesday, June 3. No one was present inside the synagogue, and the driver was not injured.
Congregation President Joyce Placzkowski said the meter damaged the front window, the window’s sun shades, the front door, carpeting in the sanctuary and hallway, and chipped paint off the wall.
“This thing was traveling at some speed,” Placzkowski said. “It went through two windows and almost another 30 feet before it stopped.”
The car, a Ford Taurus, was towed due to disabling damage. Police do not know how fast the driver was going, and he did not receive a speeding ticket. The speed limit on Washington Avenue, where the crash occurred, is 30 mph.
The synagogue’s insurance will cover damage to the building. The congregation can take their time repairing the building, Placzkowski said, because services have been via Zoom meetings.
Antisemitism was not suspected, though the incident may serve as a reminder of when antisemitic graffiti was discovered on the building as board members arrived for a meeting in September 2019.
The Congregation expects to receive an estimate on the value of the damage by the end of the month.