Accident destroys renovated booth

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, February 18, 2004

A van careened into the ticket booth at the Performing Arts Centre and utterly destroyed it.

The accident, according to witnesses at the scene, occurred just before 3 p.m. and police were on the scene almost immediately.

The historic ticket booth had coincidentally appeared on the cover of the Monday issue of The Times-Journal.

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Observers said that a white sedan was traveling south on Lauderdale Street and the brown van east on Selma Avenue. Following the collision the van careened right, through the shrubbery at the corner, and destroyed the booth with a glancing blow and stopped on the sidewalk in front of the centre facing Selma Avenue

at an angle.

It was unclear if there were injuries.

Kitty Windham, director of the Performing Arts Centre, was clearly shaken. Interviewed on the spot just inside the theatre where &uot;Spencer’s Mountain&uot; was playing, Windham said that she had just stepped out of her office in the other part of the centre and heard a terrific noise. The Tuesday afternoon senior movie feature had begun at 2 p.m. &uot;All I could think was that the roof of the centre had fallen in and that I was going to find 88 dead bodies in the theatre where the movie was showing.&uot; Windham had been taking donations for the movie in the booth and noted that if she had been in the booth 30 minutes earlier she would be a spot on the sidewalk.

Frank Jones, longtime resident attending the movie, said that a noise was heard inside the room where the movie was showing, but he thought it was simply the door at the rear of the theatre making a scraping noise.

Kay Jones, facility/contract manager for the City of Selma with an office in the centre, said that she had just completed a tour of the convention centre and as she was leaving was told by the city’s security officer that the accident had happened and she rushed back.

Windham, when asked if the destruction of the ticket booth would affect the 2 p.m. Tuesday afternoon movies for seniors, she said no. &uot;The show must go on,&uot; she said. &uot;In fact it is going on right now.&uot;

Both Kay Jones and Windham indicated that the booth would be rebuilt.

Frank Jones looked at the place where the ticket booth had been an hour before and remembered fondly his first time at the theatre in 1938 when he was in the first grade.

Now, he and 87 other seniors were enjoying one of the good ole movies on Tuesday afternoon for a suggested donation of $1, including admission, popcorn and a cold drink.

As Windham recently said, &uot;You can’t beat it with a stick.&uot;