St. Louis, Missouri (NBC)(03/11/20)— A man intentionally backed his car into a St. Louis polling station Tuesday and then started throwing liquid on voting machines, police said.
Arlice Thompson, age 60, a poll worker from St. Louis, told NBC News that she was helping a voter check in around 9:30 A.M. CT at Friendly Temple Missionary Church when “we heard this loud boom.”
“We thought something had exploded outside the building,” she said.
She said a man in his 60s had crashed his car into the side of the church and walked inside yelling obscenities.
He then poured an unknown liquid from a gallon milk jug onto the floor and voting machines and started throwing chairs and tables around as witnesses called police, Thompson said.
The man was taken into custody and transported to a hospital for evaluation, St. Louis police said. There were no injuries.
Gary Stoff, the Republican director of elections for the St. Louis City Election Board, said the person “initially came in to vote.”
“When he came out, he got into his vehicle and, instead of taking the gear into drive, he put the car into reverse and backed into the entrance area of the polling station,” Stoff said. “And people came out to see what happened.”
The man then went in and “poured water, as far as we know, on the floor and on the voting machines,” Stoff said. “The police came quickly, and they got the situation under control. We don’t know what caused him to do that. There was nothing about when he first went in that would suggest he would do something else.”
The polling station was closed because of the damage, and the four precincts were moved to the nearest ward about a mile away, Stoff said.
Election workers set up new machines and new equipment at the alternative site, the Pierre Laclede Junior Career Academy, and posted signs to redirect voters, he added.
There was a car crash at a polling place in another state voting in Tuesday’s primaries, Michigan.
Unlike the Missouri crash, officials said the wreck at a Coloma Township voting site was an accident.
“Local police and poll workers did an excellent job securing the area and re-opening the polling place. The driver said she needed to go speak with her insurance company and then would return to vote,” said Jake Rollow, a spokesman for Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson.
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