Imagine the surprise of Exeter police and the owners of The Word Barn who found the Grinch behind the wheel of an SUV that crashed into a mailbox Christmas night.

Jon C. Williamson, 31, of Exeter was in full Grinch gear standing outside his Honda CRV when police arrived on Newfields Road around 5:50 p.m., according to Exeter police chief Stephan Poulin.

Williamson told police he was "distracted" on a curve in front of The Word Barn and went off the road. The Accord took out a sign for the business along with the mailbox and several lights located along a path in the front yard.

"This was certainly a unique situation. Officers never expected to arrive at the scene to find that an operator was wearing a Grinch suit behind the wheel, but it was Christmas night so not entirely outside the realm of possibility. Fortunately, no one was seriously hurt," Police Chief Stephan Poulin said in a statement.

Poulin did not disclose if Cindy Lou Who or anyone else was in the vehicle.

Driver in Grinch costume following a crash on Newfields Road in Exeter 12/25/23
Driver in Grinch costume following a crash on Newfields Road in Exeter 12/25/23 (The Word Barn via Exeter Police)

Not the sign's first crash

The Accord's windshield was smashed, the rear driver's side window broken, and the front end significantly damaged, according to the chief.

Williamson was taken to Exeter Hospital for evaluation after the crash.

On its Facebook page, The Word Barn said it was not the first time the sign has been damaged by a crash.

"We're amazed and so very glad no one was hurt, but imagine our surprise when we raced outside to assist and found...the Grinch!?!," they wrote.

The crash remains under investigation. No charges have been filed.

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at or via X (Twitter) @DanAlexanderNH

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