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Car crashes into Happy's in Marion, shuts down portion of Main Street

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Happy's damage
***Update 11:00 a.m.***

After consulting with engineers, Smyth County building officials have determined the Happy's building to be unsafe and structurally unsound.

Clegg Williams, who heads the county's building and zoning department, said the front portion of the building will be removed and then the building will be reassessed. 

Main Street between Chatham Hill Road and Wilden Street will remain closed until the reassessment is completed. 

***Update 10:33 a.m.***

Marion police have charged 27-year-old Joel M. German-Castro, 27, of Union City, New Jersey, with felony eluding police and reckless driving in connection to the crash.

Joel German Castro

Joel M. German-Castro, 27, of Union City, New Jersey. 

****Original Story*****

Drivers in Marion are being asked to seek an alternate route after a car crashed into the Happy’s building, temporarily closing that portion of Main Street.

Marion Police Chief John Clair said the crash occurred following a high-speed chase on Interstate 81 this morning. State police initiated the pursuit after a trooper saw the driver traveling at more than 140 mph, he said. When the vehicle left the interstate at 47 and state police terminated its pursuit, Clair said a Marion unit saw saw the vehicle entering town at more than 100 mph and attempted to pull it over.

Happy's crash

As the vehicle rounded the curve near Happy’s, Clair said, it lost control and struck the building.

The driver and a passenger have been treated and released from the hospital and structural engineers are assessing the building.

“The roadway is going to be shut down for at least the next four to five hours,” Clair said, adding that drivers should detour up Chatham Hill Road, to Prater Lane, to Callan Drive and Park Avenue.

Marion police are seeking warrants for felony eluding police and reckless driving. Virginia State Police will seek separate charges.

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