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Western New Jersey

Part of building collapses in busy area of Phillipsburg

SUV plowed into buidling near Free Bridge; police suspect driver of DUI

Building collapse

PHILLIPSBURG, N.J. - A historic building in Phillipsburg partially collapsed after being slammed into by an SUV early Saturday morning.

 It happened around 3 a.m. in the area of Union Square, just across from the Free Bridge, when an SUV driven by 22-year-old Vincent King Jr. of West Easton crashed into the historic building right before part of the front wall collapsed onto the vehicle.

Police said charges are pending against King, who appeared to be driving under the influence of alcohol. Police said they are awaiting results of blood tests.

King was taken to the hospital for minor injuries. No one else was injured.

It is unknown how fast King was traveling when he crashed into the building, according to police.

At this time, part of North Main Street is closed off to traffic. A structural engineer will determine if the SUV can be safely removed without causing further damage. Until then, the road is expected to remain closed.

The vacant building is owned by architect James Guerra, who told 69 News the building is salvageable. He says crews will shore up the side of the building that collapsed, and then rebuild it. The goal is to eventually re-use the building, which at one time housed a motorcycle dealership.

Guerra said inside the part of the building that collapsed is a rare motorcycle estimated to be worth about $300,000. He said the cycle does not appear to be badly damaged. Other vehicles were stored in the building.

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