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Samuel Hoffman | The Journal Gazette
Pieces of broken plastic car parts lie on the grass behind Mark di Suvero's stainless steel and painted steel Helmholtz sculpture, which was struck by a car, knocked over and damaged at Freimann Square early Sunday.
Sculpture near Freimann Square toppled

Driver in crash faces DWI counts

File | The Journal Gazette
The statue in better days.

The familiar reddish-orange steel beams of the Helmholtz sculpture next to Freimann Square lay crumpled and bent Sunday after a Fort Wayne man drove his vehicle into one of the legs, causing it to collapse.

Orange fencing warns visitors to stay away from the structure and small pieces of plastic car parts and a few tire tracks littered the area.

Colton Adamonis, 23, was arrested early Sunday on drunken-driving charges after driving a vehicle into the steel sculpture on the west side of the Arts United Center, police said.

Adamonis was driving the vehicle at 2:18 a.m. when he struck the structure and attempted to flee. He was arrested a short time later, said Fort Wayne Police Department spokeswoman Raquel Foster.

Additional details about the crash were not available Sunday, she said.

At the time of the accident, Adamonis had a blood-alcohol level more than twice the legal limit of 0.08 percent, according to police.

The Helmholtz, a large sculpture made of stainless and painted steel, was created by Mark di Suvero in 1985, according to the artist's website.

Amanda Martin, deputy director for the Fort Wayne Museum of Art, said the sculpture was created specifically for Fort Wayne to commemorate the city as the Magnet Wire Capital of the World.

The steel sculpture was commissioned in 1983 by Rea Magnet Wire Co. to celebrate its 50th anniversary in Fort Wayne. It is named after 19th-century German physicist Hermann von Helmholtz, who worked with magnets.

The structure weighs between 8 and 10 tons, she said.

Martin said it was difficult to say exactly how much the sculpture was worth, but similar creations that are one-third the size of the Helmholtz were valued between $400,000 and $600,000.

"We are happy that no one was hurt, and as an art museum, everything that we own is insured, so we'll be working with our insurance to figure out what's next," she said.

Museum officials plan to have safety inspectors on hand today to determine whether additional precautions need to be taken to secure the sculpture until it can be repaired.

Martin added that the Mark di Suvero is still living, and she hopes he will play a role in fixing the damage.

"We are fortunate that he is still alive and hopefully can play a role in bringing it back to life," she said. "We're all in shock, I'd have to say."

Adamonis, of the 400 block of Mission Hill Drive, was preliminarily charged with operating a vehicle while intoxicated, operating a vehicle with a blood alcohol level of more then 0.15 percent and leaving the scene of an accident.

He was being held at the Allen County Jail in lieu of $750 bail.