Car plows through fence and crashes into Cape house

Tuesday, September 30, 2003

Samuel Pollard was relaxing on his couch at 907 S. Ellis in Cape Girardeau Monday afternoon watching television and waiting for his girlfriend to return from the store when he heard a series of terrifying noises.

"I heard a bunch of squealing down the street, then a 'boom' and then a big 'ka-boom' when it hit the house," he said, looking out his front door at the mangled black Ford Taurus crumpled into his brick and concrete front porch. "Then I heard the glass shatter."

A car had just hurtled across his neighbor's yard, pierced a 6-foot tall chain-link fence and crashed into his house. The brick hand rails on the porch buckled under the impact.

Police say the 16-year-old female driver, of Cape Girardeau, was northbound when she first hit the right-side curb, then cut across the street, drove up a small incline over a set of concrete steps and through a steel hand rail, then continued across the yard into a chain-link fence, before finally smashing into the porch.

The driver told police she was trying to avoid hitting some children who were in the street, but the preliminary crash investigation had not yet corroborated her story, said officer Christopher Muench.

"We've got to talk to about 10 to 30 witnesses out here," he said.

More than 50 spectators trickled out of their homes to watch emergency responders and police. Some said they thought the driver was speeding or perhaps panicked when she hit the curb and hit the gas pedal instead of the brake. A few children at the scene said they saw the crash and believed the driver was trying to avoid hitting someone.

The driver suffered minor injuries from her air bag deployment but was not seriously hurt, Muench said. A 15-year-old female passenger was taken by ambulance to a local hospital because her parents could not be immediately located.

mwells@semissourian.com

335-6611, extension 160

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