America just keeps getting crazier and crazier.
A well-known Civil War monument in Lorain County was destroyed early Tuesday morning when it was struck by a tractor trailer that careened out of control.
Surveillance video obtained by FOX 8 News shows the moment that the truck traveled straight through the traffic circle in LaGrange and toppled the monument that sat in the middle of the village square since 1903.
“It’s just, wow, I can’t believe it. After over a hundred years, it happened. Luckily it was three in the morning and no cars were here on the square because he came right through. I thought, ‘Oh man, I hope we can fix this,’” LaGrange Township Trustee Gary Burnett told FOX 8.
Fortunately, the truck driver was not injured. He told investigators with the State Highway Patrol that he remembers feeling drowsy and then apparently fell asleep at the wheel.
The 37-year-old will be cited for failure to control.
Over the years, the Civil War monument became more than just a landmark.
“I mean, it’s on everything. All our literature, it’s on all our police badges and symbols. I mean, it’s part of LaGrange,” LaGrange Mayor Kim Strauss told FOX 8.
“If you tell somebody the square monument, they all know where exactly to go. Even just people passing through kind of stop and pull off to the side and take pictures,” LaGrange business owner Amber Cawley said.
Erected in 1903 by LaGrange Township at a cost of $3,000, the monument pays tribute to local Union soldiers who died during the Civil War.
It became known as Sherman’s Monument after General William Tecumseh Sherman and it’s the subject of many stories and urban legends.
“When they erected it, they had him facing north, and then some people said he should be facing south. You never turn your back on the enemy, which was the south at that time, so they turned him facing south,” said Burnett.
Can the monument be repaired or replaced? We are told a repair specialist inspected the pile of rubble on Tuesday and gave township trustees some bad news.
“I asked him if they could put it back together. He said, ‘I doubt it,’ I said, ‘What about a new one?’ He says, ‘I don’t think you can afford it,’” said Burnett.
The township now plans to file an insurance claim against the trucking company that employs the driver. Officials will then decide if the monument can be repaired or replaced.
“I think we should put it up to the residents and what they think, but personally, yes, I think ‘Sherman’ should be back,” said Mayor Strauss.