Gene Shalit not hurt after his car careens into house in Lenox


Update: Gene Shalit faces charge after Wednesday's crash into pole, house

LENOX - Television personality Gene Shalit was not hurt following a minor one-car crash on Housatonic Street on Wednesday after the vehicle he was driving hit a utility pole and came to a stop against a house.

"The pole slowed him down, otherwise he may have ended up in my living room," said Gracie Rawson, who owns the home with her husband, Donald.

The Rawsons weren't home at 12:30 p.m. when Shalit's orange Honda Element left the road, swerved onto the lawn of 120 Housatonic St., and came to a stop against their house. The car took out a wood post and some bushes on the lawn. Some of the house siding also appeared to be damaged.

Shalit, 86, who lives in Stockbridge, was the mustachioed movie reviewer for the NBC "Today" show from 1973 until he retired in 2010.

"That doesn't happen every day," Mrs. Rawson said of having a television personality running into her house.

A Berkshire Eagle photographer, who was at the scene, said Shalit appeared to be OK and collected some belongings from the car before a person came and picked him up.

A neighbor, who did not want to give her name, said she heard a "very odd noise," like a tire popping, and looked out a window to see the Honda Element out of control and heading toward the house.

Lenox Police are investigating the accident. A police officer reached by phone said the report hadn't been completed and no more information regarding the accident was available.

This isn't the first time the Rawsons have had trouble with errant vehicles and their property. The couple own Farmer Don's Fresh Produce, a farmstand located at the front of their property. In 2004, an alleged drunk driver crashed into the stand, completely destroying it. The Rawsons, who have operated the stand for more than 25 years, rebuilt it after the accident.

Of the latest incident, Mrs. Rawson seemed to take it in stride.

"At least no one was injured and the stand wasn't hit," she said.

Shalit's car, which had front-end damage, was towed from the scene.

This is the third incident this month in Lenox involving older drivers. In the earlier cases, the Lenox Police asked the Registry of Motor Vehicles to suspend the drivers' licenses.

On Oct. 15, a confused, 80-year-old motorist emerged from the Lenox Commons complex and made a left turn into oncoming southbound traffic on the divided state highway of Route 7 & 20, also known as Pittsfield Road. A potential accident was averted by Stockbridge Police Chief Richard "Rick" Wilcox who intercepted the driver.

Four days earlier, an 82-year-old woman lost control of her vehicle and struck a gas pump at the Lipton Mobil Mart at the Holmes Road-Pittsfield Road (Route 7 & 20) intersection. A quick-thinking convenience store clerk, Susan Rogers, was able to turn the gas pump off before a potential spill occurred.


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