HomeNewsDowntown Atchison statue hit by vehicle

Downtown Atchison statue hit by vehicle

A 2018 Hyundai was eastbound on Commercial Street when it left the roadway at 12:50 a.m. on Oct. 2.  The car proceeded into the 400 block of Commercial, which is a sidewalk section between storefronts, and collided with a statue mounted in concrete. 

After striking the statue, the car turned north and collided into Sacred Heart Thrift Store.  

A south-facing window of Sacred Heart Thrift Store suffered substantial damage, in addition to the surrounding sidewalk.  Currently, a plywood board covers the damage done to the storefront. 

According to Atchison Police Chief Mike Wilson, officers arrived at the scene shortly after and the driver of the vehicle, John Hewitt, was arrested for driving under the influence. Hewitt was a student and resident assistant at Benedictine College.

Hewitt sustained no injuries. The statue, made by local artist Aleda Haug in 2013, will be either replaced or repaired.   

According to an eyewitness, fragments of the statue traveled all the way to Alps grocery store. 

The statue, nicknamed ‘Deafy’, paid homage to Deafy Boular, the legless bricklayer who according to Ripley’s Believe it or Not, laid 46,000 paving bricks in a single eight-hour day. Born in 1869, Deafy lost his hearing at 4, and then his legs when he was 12 (they were run over by a train he could not hear coming). He had special boots made to fit the stumps of his legs and found that he was then the perfect height for laying the brick streets and sidewalks of Atchison. Most of the brick streets and sidewalks in Atchison were laid thanks to Deafy.  

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