Grand Central, the popular Baltimore gay bar in Mount Vernon, received a jolt just before 9:30 p.m. on Sept. 16. A white sedan driven by Donnell Tyrone Ray, 18, careened into the pub entrance on Eager Street after crashing into a pick-up truck carrying containers of white paint. The paint spilled all over the outside of the bar and the sidewalk.
“It sounded like an explosion,” Larry Neiser, Grand Central’s operations manager who was tending bar in the pub section at the time, told the Blade. “There was a loud noise and the sound of glass breaking. I immediately got out from behind the bar to check on the security person at the door and the few patrons who were inside. Everyone was OK.”
Ray, the alleged driver of the car, was being pursued by Transit Police following an attempted traffic stop. The vehicle, according to MTA spokesman Terry Owens, did not have headlights on and was traveling in the wrong direction on Park Avenue, a one-way street.
The car did not stop and ran a red light before it hit the pick-up truck. Ray attempted to flee on foot but was apprehended by MTA officers a short distance from the bar. He was placed under arrest; charges are pending. Both Ray and the unidentified driver of the pick-up truck received minor injuries.
The accident, according to Neiser, resulted in broken windows, damage to the pub’s vestibule as well as damage to the exterior including the patio, planters, tables and chairs. There was also damage from the spilled paint. Insurance adjusters immediately began the task of having the area cleaned up. There was no cost estimate of the damage immediately available.
On Grand Central’s Facebook page, management assured continuity by maintaining regular hours the next day. “Due to the vestibule being damaged we will be using the side Disco doors as the main entrance for the time being. We would like to thank the community for all of your support and well wishes.”