Carmel seeks $25,000 from driver for damaged fountain

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CARMEL, Ind. (Nov. 20, 2015)– A driver who police say had been drinking smashed his car into a fountain in a Carmel roundabout.

Rather than stopping, police say Sangyong Lee, 50, drove a short distance and then got out of his car and walked away.

Carmel is known for its signature roundabouts and the fountain that sits in the middle of a roundabout at fourth Avenue and west Main street is the first thing many people see as they enter downtown.

“It wasn’t a small impact, it was big,” said witness Stan Baskett.

The fountain is now battered and missing massive pieces of cement.

“I stepped outside and I heard a big bang,” said Baskett.

On Nov. 2, Baskett was on his porch when he heard the crash.

“The top plates were all messed up from the middle to the whole right side,” said Baskett.

Pieces of the Toyota Sienna were strewn across the fountain.

Baskett thought someone was hurt so he call 911 and ran to the accident and he wasn’t expecting what he saw next.

“The driver stopped and got out of the van and looked at the front of the vehicle then got back in and started driving off,” said Baskett.

Baskett says the driver smashed into the fountain and drove away to a nearby apartment complex.

“I knew he wasn’t going very far because his van wasn’t in any shape to go anywhere,” said Baskett

Police say the driver,Lee had a BAC of .05, that’s below the legal limit but he was arrested for driving away from the scene and then ditching his car​.

Now, the city of Carmel is going after the cash to fix the fountain.

“The taxpayers of Carmel should not pay the cost of repairs when public property is damaged due to the carelessness or negligence of drivers in our city,” said Carmel Mayor Jim Brainard.

Estimates for the fountain are around $25,000 to repair the broken structure and fix a possibly damaged electrical system.

“When accidents destroy our city’s streets, curbs, lighting, landscaping or other structures such as the fountain at 4th and Main, we will seek damages and prosecute to the full extent of the law to recover our costs,” said Mayor Brainard.

“Whatever it ends up costing is what his insurance should pay,” said Baskett.

The Carmel Streets Department will determine the final cost of the damage.  We stopped by Lee’s Carmel home but he wasn’t there.

FOX59 also reached out to Lee’s Attorney but we didn’t receive a call back. Lee has a bench trial set for February.