Vehicle plows through Provo home after missing intersection

Published: Friday, March 29 2013 12:05 p.m. MDT

A car hit into a house at 450 E. University Parkway in Provo on Friday, 29, 2013.

Mark Johnston, Daily Herald

PROVO — A vehicle drove right into a Provo home Friday morning, sparing the occupants — a family of six — who were not home at the time.

The 17-year-old driver was headed to Timpview High School when he plowed through an intersection and into the home at 450 E. University Parkway about 7:30 a.m., said Provo Fire Battalion Chief Ed Scott. The impact obliterated entire walls of the home, leaving the roof line compromised at one end, even blowing out windows in other parts of the house.

"He was going fast enough that when he hit the berm in the front of the house, he actually launched himself through the house," said Provo Police Lt. Matt Siufanua. "We were very concerned because the car was actually on top of two beds."

The sport utility vehicle, which hit the home 3 feet above the foundation line, smashed through the children's bedroom and a master bedroom and stopped just short of the backyard.

"You can't even see pieces of their beds," said David Lee, who lives at the home with his wife and four children. "It's decimated. If we would have been there, it would have been really bad news."

He said his wife had just had a baby and was needing assistance while he was at work, so the family was staying with her parents in Lehi. Lee teaches at a nearby school, where he was with two of his sons when the accident happened. Renters in the basement of the house were home at the time but remained unscathed.

"It's almost like a bomb went off inside the house," Lee said. "There's brick, splinters and wood laying around. It's just a mess." Two of his sons would have been sleeping in the front bedroom had they been home when the crash occurred.

The vehicle fractured the natural gas line in the home, prompting evacuations in the area immediately following the crash. Nearby residents were allowed to return to their homes after about 30 minutes.

"It was very devastating and a big impact," Siufanua said.

Investigators were trying to piece together how and why the accident happened. Siufanua said that the vehicle had to be traveling at high speeds to make it all the way through the home.

The driver of the vehicle was taken to Utah Valley Regional Medical Center with minor injuries. It is believed that he suffered from a medical issue, which contributed to the cause of the accident, according to the lieutenant.

No one else was in the vehicle at the time of the accident.

Lee said the thought of a car hitting his house has occurred to him before, but he called it a "freak accident" on Friday, saying it is not likely to happen again. He plans to rebuild at the same location, saving as much of the current building that he can, if that's an option.

Scott said the house was not structurally sound and the homeowners would not be allowed back in for some time.

"I'm overly happy that no one in our family was hurt and our renters … are all fine, and hope the driver will be OK," Lee said. "If that's the case, you know, it's a house."

E-mail: wleonard@deseretnews.com, mrichards@deseretnews.com, Twitter: wendyleonards

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