Troup Square Monument Damaged by Drunk Driver - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

10/11/04

Troup Square Monument Damaged by Drunk Driver

The damaged armillary. The damaged armillary.
The square after the wreckage was cleared. The square after the wreckage was cleared.

You may not know what they call it, but you've probably seen the armillary monument in Savannah's Troup Square. Investigators say a drunk driver took it out. Around 8:45 Friday night, a man driving a pickup truck crashed through the chain, went through the grass, over the bushes and hit the armillary, which used to stand in the center of the square.

The marble base has been moved aside. The astrological sphere which used to rest on top is in a storage shed.

"I know this is a real popular monument, so we'll have to put it back in the best shape we can," said David White with Savannah's Park and Tree Department.

The department is in charge of repairing the sphere. It is badly bent and cracked and the zodiac symbol Pisces is missing. They're going to call the manufactures in Connecticut who made it, and hopefully they can fix it.

"Everybody in the square enjoys the monument," said Brent Murphy, who lives across the street. He and many of his neighbors got a closer look at the damage today.

"It was here when we moved here six years ago and I hope it's here after I'm long gone," he said.

The sphere has been the centerpiece here of Troup Square since the early 1970s. Back then, it cost about $64,000. Park and Tree doesn't know how much it is  going to cost to repair the damage from Friday.

"It's made of bronze alloy, it will be pretty expensive," said White.

But the city shouldn't have to pay a dime. "My hope is the person who ran into it has good automobile insurance for liability and we'll be able to recover the cost from the insurance company."

But in the meantime, the square will remain bare and neighbors will likely remain upset this happened in the first place.

Police charged 53-year-old Harley Fisk with driving under the influence and failure to maintain his lane. A couple hours after the accident, police had to come back to Troup Square. They got a 911 call that two boys were trying to steal the sphere.

Reported by: Michelle Paynter, mpaynter@wtoc.com

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