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Police have a suspect in Octagon House crash

The wrap-around porch of the historic Octagon House, 1004 Third St., was damaged when a 2002 Chevrolet Blazer crashed into it at 1 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 12. Police found the driver's license of the Anoka County, Minn., suspected of driving into the house inside the vehicle. The man fled the scene. (Hudson Star-Observer photo by Randy Hanson)1 / 2
The vehicle took a divot out of the median grass where it left Third Street and traveled over a tree stump, before crashing into the Octagon House porch. (Hudson Star-Observer photo by Randy Hanson)2 / 2

Hudson police believe they know who crashed an SUV into the porch of the historic Octagon House on Third Street early Saturday morning.

The officer responding to the 1 a.m. crash found a driver’s license inside 2002 Chevrolet Blazer, apparently left by the individual who fled from the scene.

A man and a woman walking home on a Third Street sidewalk witnessed the crash, according Police Chief Marty Jensen.

They said they saw the southbound SUV swerve toward the west and then east, continuing over the curb and the short stump of a maple tree, before hitting the Octagon House’s wrap-around porch.

The vehicle came to a stop next to the foundation of the house, built in 1855 and now on the National Register of Historic Places. The St. County Historical Society operates the house as a museum.

The witnesses said the driver tried to back out of the broken porch, but was unable to. When they reached the vehicle, he was gone.

Jensen said a police officer went to the Hudson residence of the suspect’s girlfriend, but no one came to the door.

As of Monday morning, the police department still hadn’t made contact with the Anoka County, Minn., man. The SUV, registered to the suspected driver’s father, is in the police department’s impound lot.

Jensen said the officer investigating the accident works the night shift and would be attempting again to contact the driver later Monday.

Octagon House Museum Director Heidi Rushmann told the Eau Claire Leader-Telegram that two large porch pillars were knocked down in the crash and that rocking chairs and planters were also damaged.

Rushmann said the house itself appeared to be OK. There was no noticeable damage to doors, windows or walls.

Rushmann told the Eau Claire newspaper it may take more time and money than normal to repair the porch because the historical integrity of the unique eight-sided house must be maintained.

November and December are the busiest months for the Octagon House because of the annual Christmas Tour of Homes and holiday season tours.

Randy Hanson

Randy Hanson has reported for the Star-Observer since 1997. He came to Hudson after 11 years with the Inter-County Leader at Frederic, and eight years of teaching social studies. He’s a graduate of UW-Eau Claire.

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