Drunken driver crashes into Beaver Dam school causing estimated $100K in damage, officials say

22-year-old suspect injured, arrested

A drunken driver crashed into a school building in Beaver Dam late Wednesday night, causing structural damage, officials said.

The Beaver Dam Police Department said police responded at about 11:15 p.m. to a home on North Center Street for a report of an incident.

In a statement Thursday morning, the Beaver Dam Unified School District said that before the car struck the building, it hit an electrical transformer that feeds power to a large part of the building. Damage was also caused by the impact of the crash and a resulting fire.

“Although we do not have a full and complete picture of the work that will need to be done, we can reasonably estimate that the damage associated with this incident is well over $100,000,” officials with the school said. “Until we have full power and appropriately filter and clean the air in order to assure a safe environment for students and staff, the middle school will remain closed.”

Police said a 30-year-old woman reported a verbal argument with a 22-year-old man she was living with, and that he broke a window and left the home in a vehicle. The man was reported to be under the influence of alcohol.

At about 11:30 p.m., officers investigating the domestic disturbance found the suspect vehicle and attempted to stop it, according to a news release.

Police said the driver refused to stop and fled at a high speed, eventually traveling south on Grove Street. The vehicle left the road and struck the north wall of the Beaver Dam Middle School, near the intersection of West Mackie Street and Grove Street.

Video from the Daily Dodge taken at the scene showed what appeared to be a light-colored car partially in the building.

The collision caused structural damage to the building and damage to the electrical and water utilities, officials said. The fire was extinguished by the Beaver Dam Fire Department.

The suspect suffered non-life-threatening injuries. He was arrested on suspicion of domestic disorderly conduct, fleeing and eluding an officer, operating while under the influence, operating while suspended and operating without insurance, police said.

Alliant Energy shut off the power at the school overnight while authorities investigated. Power to the building was restored at about 5 a.m. School officials said Thursday morning that Alliant Energy is working to replace the transformer and “restore the building to full power as soon as reasonably possible.”

The incident is still under investigation. Police did not identify the suspect.

School officials said additional contractors and partners will be brought in this week to help further assess the situation and develop a plan to fix it.

“We are optimistic that we will be able to work through this dynamic challenge over the next few days so we are business as usual by Monday, August 26, 2019,” district officials said in a statement.

The first day of school at the Beaver Dam district is Sept. 3. The district is postponing an open house that was scheduled for Thursday night.

Get your weather forecast from people who actually live in your community. We update with short, easy-to-use video forecasts you can watch on your phone every day. Download the iOS or Android app here.