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Samuel Hoffman | The Journal Gazette
Pieces of broken plastic lie on the grass behind Mark di Suvero's stainless steel and painted steel sculpture "Helmholtz," which was struck by a vehicle at Freimann Square early Sunday.

Man arrested after striking sculpture, police say

Steel "Helmholtz" creation in pieces after DWI crash

Sam Hoffman
Twisted metal and sprung bolts of "Helmholtz," the stainless steel and painted steel sculpture, which was hit by vehicle early Sunday. The sculpture was created by artist Mark di Suvero.

A Fort Wayne man was arrested early Sunday morning on drunk driving charges, accused of running a vehicle into the steel Helmholtz sculpture next to Freimann Square, near the Fort Wayne Museum of Art.

Colton Adamonis, 23, was involved in a hit-skip accident about2:18 a.m.and was arrested a short time later after fleeing the scene, 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.

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 Helmholtz.

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

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.

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

The museum's Facebook page included a short message that museum officials were aware the structure had been struck.

"We have been notified that earlier this morning, a motorist hit FWMoA's large orange sculpture Helmholtz by Mark di Suvero, which sits in Freimann square, severely twisting the steel and knocking it to the ground," the message read. "The area around the sculpture has been cordoned off and safety inspectors will arrive at the scene Monday to determine the extent of the damage."

The museum remained open Sunday from noon to 5 p.m., according to the website.

The crumpled beams were surrounded by orange fencing to keep visitors away from the structure on Sunday.

Small pieces of car parts that broke off in the crash and a few tire tracks littered the area.

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.