Police: Car hit Florissant, Mo., nursing home on purpose

Saturday, April 4, 2009

FLORISSANT, Mo. -- Police say a man intentionally drove his car through the front doors of a St. Louis County nursing home Friday, causing the car to catch fire and injuring the driver and one resident.

The incident happened about 6:30 a.m. at St. Sophia Health and Rehabilitation Center, a 240-bed facility in Florissant. After crashing through the front doors, the car came to a rest in the lobby and caught fire.

Police identified the injured resident is a 54-year-old woman but did not release her name or the name of the driver of the car. Details of her injury were not immediately known. The car driver suffered burns, but details were not available. Both were hospitalized.

Police chief William Karabas said the car driver is the son of a resident of the nursing home. Karabas said the man was previously barred from the nursing home because of bizarre behavior, then became angry on Friday when he was not allowed in.

"He took it upon himself to get into his automobile," Karabas said. "He drove through the doors inside the building."

Residents were wheeled in their beds to a parking lot while the fire was put out. Karabas said residents were forced to be outside -- temperatures were in the 40s -- for only a short time.

Terry Hall, who said she is the sister of the car driver, told KTVI-TV that the man is a drug user with a long history of angry behavior. Hall said her mother has been forced to relocate to several different nursing homes because of her brother's behavior.

When Hall heard about the incident on Friday, she went to the nursing home and found a police officer.

"I asked him, 'was it my brother?"' she said.

"We've got restraining orders on him, and nothing is done," Hall said.

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