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U.S. Postal Service suspends rent to Ashuelot building owner following crash

By Alyssa Dandrea, The Keene Sentinel, N.H.
McClatchy-Tribune Information Services

June 19--ASHUELOT -- The U.S. Postal Service has suspended its rent payments to the owner of 8 Ashuelot Main St., whose two-story building sits empty following a car crash last week.

And with the building's studio apartment also damaged in the accident, owner Lester W. Thayer of Sullivan says he is no longer bringing in about $850 a month from his two renters.

"My insurance will pay for it all to be fixed, but there's this other stuff that I have to pay for and worry about," Thayer said in a recent interview.

Until further notice, the post office is operating out of the Winchester branch on Richmond Road, said Melissa Lohnes, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Postal Service. Eighty-seven residents had post office boxes at the Ashuelot location and are now getting their mail in Winchester, she said. Ashuelot is a village in Winchester.

On the evening of June 8, Winchester police responded to a report of a domestic disturbance on Keene Road in their town. In the roughly 20 minutes thereafter, Gage B. Gushlaw, 21, of Keene allegedly led police on a chase that ended in him crashing a 1998 Oldsmobile Cutlass into the post office, according to police.

Gushlaw faces a slew of misdemeanor charges including aggravated driving while intoxicated; driving while intoxicated, subsequent offense; conduct after an accident; disobeying an officer; driving after license suspension; and reckless driving. He was also charged with violations of speeding and passing on a solid line. He is being held at the Cheshire County jail in Keene for lack of $10,000 bail.

Winchester police Lt. Christopher Roberts said Tuesday Gushlaw was driving much faster than the posted 30 mph when he lost control and crashed the vehicle. He suffered minor cuts and abrasions in the crash, and no one else was injured, Roberts said.

The vehicle is registered to Karen Patch of Ashuelot Main Street and is not insured, according to police records. Roberts declined to comment on her relationship to Gushlaw.

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An adjuster has surveyed the damage and will report back to Thayer, he said. Following the crash, Bergeron Construction of Keene stabilized the building, he said.

Thayer has hired lawyer Howard B. Lane Jr. of Keene to represent him.

"It's far more involved than I ever imagined," Thayer said.

During the crash, debris scattered and smashed the window of a parked vehicle at the site, Roberts said. A fence on the property was also damaged, he said.

Alyssa Dandrea can be reached at 352-1234, extension 1435, or adandrea@keenesentinel.com. Follow her on Twitter @ADandreaKS.

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(c)2014 The Keene Sentinel (Keene, N.H.)

Visit The Keene Sentinel (Keene, N.H.) at www.sentinelsource.com

Distributed by MCT Information Services

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