NORTH ATTLEBORO — A pickup truck crashed onto a church lawn filled with pumpkins for sale over the weekend, but officials say there are still plenty of the seasonal gourds still available for purchase.
“We have a lot here,” said Joan Hutson, who has worked the First United Methodist Church’s annual Pumpkin Patch fundraiser with her husband Lyle for the past 14 years. “Customers are still coming in.”
The crash occurred shortly before 1:15 a.m. Saturday.
Police say the pickup was traveling south on Route 1, missed the left turn at the intersection with Hoppin Hill Avenue (Route 120) and crashed head on into a utility pole.
The truck snapped the pole before rolling onto its side. It came to rest with the pole in the pumpkin display on the church’s front lawn, according to police.
The crash smashed about 100 pumpkins and spilled motor oil on 80 others, police Sgt. Gary Maitland said.
But there were still hundreds of pumpkins for sale on Monday.
A toolbox on the truck was also thrown off the vehicle on impact, sending tools and nails onto the lawn, according to police and the Hutsons.
The driver, a 28-year-old Franklin man, was not seriously injured, Maitland said, adding he was wearing his seat belt and the air bags deployed.
The driver, whose name was not released, was trapped in the pickup for 5 to 10 minutes until firefighters cut the roof off the vehicle.
He was conscious and talking to rescue workers, and was taken to Rhode Island Hospital in Providence as a precaution, Maitland said.
The driver will face criminal motor vehicle charges at a later date, the officer said.
Police officers and tow workers from Achin’s Garage on North Washington Street picked up some of the smashed pumpkins and parishioners cleaned the mess on Sunday, according to Maitland and the Hutsons.
The pumpkins are delivered to the church every year on consignment by the Pumpkin Patch Foundation of North Carolina. They come from a farm on a Navajo Indian reservation in Farrington, N.M.
For over 40 years, the non-profit foundation has shared proceeds from the sale of pumpkins with churches and non-profit organizations nationwide, according to the group’s website.
The Hutsons said church officials are trying to obtain more pumpkins through fundraisers to replace those that were destroyed in the crash.
The church sells the pumpkins through Halloween. Last year, it ordered 2,500 and had only 50 left unsold, Joan Hutson said.
Volunteers at the church sell the pumpkins from noon to 7 p.m. Sunday through Friday and from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday.