Ashuelot Post Office could reopen in fall


WINCHESTER, N.H. -- A spokeswoman for the U.S. Postal Service's Northeast area said the Ashuelot Post Office, damaged when a speeding motorist crashed into it in June, is projected to open in the beginning or middle of the fall.

Melissa Lohnes told the Reformer the post office will remain closed until the delivery of new equipment, such counters and post office boxes, needed to rebuild the facility.

"Once those are received and installed, we'll be up and running again," she said from her Massachusetts office.

Lohnes did not have an estimate on what the work will cost, but said no tax money will be used to finance the repairs, as the postal service funds its operations through the prices it charges for stamps and services.

She said customers who live in Ashuelot are still being directed to the Winchester Post Office at 11 Richmond Road to pick up their mail by showing photo identification. She previously told the Reformer people can go to the Winchester location or any other post office in the area for postal retail services, such as sending priority mail or purchasing stamps. There were no changes to delivery services as a result of the car crash. No mail was damaged in the accident and no postal employees were injured.

Police say Gage B. Gushlaw, 21, of Keene, led them on a high-speed chase, driving west on Route 119 shortly after 7 p.m. on June 8 when he lost control of the car he was operating. He then hit a fence and slammed into the right side of the Ashuelot Post Office. Police Chief Gary A. Phillips said Gushlaw was cited with reckless driving, disobeying an officer, driving after revocation, conduct after an accident, a subsequent aggravated DWI offense and speeding and highway marking violations.

According to a report, Winchester Police had responded to a domestic disturbance at a stopped motor vehicle in the area of 116 Keene Road at 7:05 p.m. Phillips told the Reformer that Gushlaw's girlfriend, also of Keene, was driving a 1998 Oldsmobile Cutlass with Gushlaw as her passenger when the two got into an argument. The chief said Gushlaw then pulled the keys out of the ignition and Gushlaw's girlfriend pulled over to the side of the road, where she was soon driven from the scene by a Winchester resident. Phillips said Gushlaw then drove the Oldsmobile Cutlass from the scene, following the vehicle that was transporting his girlfriend toward Keene.

Officers were taking information at the scene moments later and saw Gushlaw zip past them on Keene Road, heading toward downtown Winchester at a high rate of speed. They followed Gushlaw but lost sight of him and Phillips said the chase was called off due to safety concerns because Gushlaw was driving more than 100 mph. A Hinsdale Police officer responding to assist saw Gushlaw pass him going west on Route 119 before the crash. Gushlaw fled the scene on foot but was apprehended by police after what Phillips said was a 15-minute search.

An attempt to contact Phillips on Monday was unsuccessful.

According to its website, the USPS rents the Ashuelot facility from Sullivan resident Lester W. Thayer.

Domenic Poli can be reached at, or 802-254-2311, ext. 277. You can follow him on Twitter @dpoli_reformer.


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