Apparently it wasn’t a great idea to hang around the corner of Elm and Union Streets in the early 1970s. Two rather spectacular truck crashes occurred within feet of each other here in 1970 and 1971.
As seen in the grainy Milford Cabinet photo above, on February 4, 1970, a tractor trailer truck traveling east and carrying 20 tons of rock salt skidded on an icy Elm Street, smashed into the western corner of the Peter Carol apartment building, and ended up hanging precariously over the brook. As it happened, it was unfortunate that the road salt was actually in the truck rather than on the road. The driver, reported variously as Ernest Thibault or Thibeault, was trapped in the cabin for nearly an hour as rescuers worked to cut him loose. It took more than 11 hours for emergency workers with wreckers and a crane to get the truck back on the road. The driver fractured his hip but there were no other injuries, and the spilled salt was used around town during the next storm.
The following year, owner Ralph Vradenberg was in his apartment above the Ralph and Edith Luncheonette (now the Union Street Grill) when a truck slammed into the restaurant. As the Milford Cabinet’s William Ferguson put it, “It’s one thing to hear about a building being smacked by a truck, it’s quite another to actually watch the truck hit under your feet.” It was a Saturday night in October 1971 when the truck jumped the curb coming down Elm Street, split two trees on the Community House lawn and rammed into the restaurant at full force, shattering the glass windows and bringing down the canopy. Luckily, the restaurant was closed for the evening, or else, as Ferguson put it, “anyone sitting on the stools nearest the window would have had a truck in his lap.”
The luncheonette - without a truck in its front window.