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Escambia County sees unusual run of three vehicle v. house crashes in three days

A vehicle crashes into a house in the 400 block of Lenox Parkway in Escambia County Monday morning in Escambia County.
Photo courtesy of Escambia County Fire Rescue
A vehicle crashes into a house in the 400 block of Lenox Parkway in Escambia County Monday morning in Escambia County.

For three straight days, there have been three vehicle crashes involving homes this week in the Pensacola area, with a fourth occurring in Panama City Beach.

“It's kind of crazy,” said Lt. Jason King, public affairs officer for the Florida Highway Patrol -Troop A, which covers ten counties in the western Panhandle. “We do see cars crash into homes, but four within the last three and a half days, it's kind of one of those things. That's an attention getter.”

The first wreck occurred shortly after midnight Monday, April 8. An FHP report indicated that a sedan driven by 38-year-old Pensacola woman collided with a house in the area of Chimes Way and Lenox Parkway in the Brent area. The vehicle entered through the living room wall and collided with a rear wall of the home.

Escambia County Fire and Rescue were called to extricate the driver and two occupants of the home, two brothers aged 65 and 66 from Pensacola. The elder male was transported to Baptist Hospital with critical injuries. The driver and 65-year-old resident reported no injuries.

On Tuesday morning, a second wreck involving a house occurred in Escambia County when a sport utility vehicle traveled off the roadway on Patton Drive and collided with the front of a residence.

No one was at home at the time of the crash, but FHP noted that the driver, an 81-year-old Pensacola woman, was taken to a local hospital in critical condition. The investigating trooper said she appeared to have suffered a medical emergency just before the collision.

“What we are wanting to recommend for our safety is if you do feel the onset of a medical situation, you don't feel right, something just feels off, and you're able, pull to the shoulder, turn your flashers on, and start trying to summons, emergency services,” suggested Lt. King, pointing to OnStar and other features that can be used to call for help. “You know, many of us like to try to push through and keep driving, and next thing you know, this episode, be it a stroke, a heart attack, a seizure, whatever the case may be, kicks in, and we no longer have control over the vehicle, thus leading us not only crashing, period, but here recently crashing into homes.”

A third house v. vehicle crash occurred Wednesday morning in southwest Escambia County, when a Chevy Malibu crashed into a home on 72nd Avenue near Lake Joanne Drive. The car was driven by a 22-year-old woman from Flomaton, AL, who reported she was unable to stop at the stop sign, resulting in her vehicle running off the shoulder of the roadway and her front bumper colliding with the private residence. The owner of the house was home at the time of the crash, but was not in the room where the crash occurred. No injuries were reported.

A fourth wreck involving a crash into a home occurred earlier Wednesday in Bay County, when a car driven by a 47-year-old Missouri man veered off the roadway and struck a post before striking the residence where a female was sleeping. Both the driver and resident were transported to a local hospital for their injuries and both were listed in stable condition.

“Imagine, feeling safe in your own home, and here comes a 6,000-7,000-pound vehicle, just like a bullet shooting through your wall; the trauma that goes with that alone, just that experience,” said King. “And then add injury, add everything else.”

While a medical emergency contributed to one of the crashes, King adds that at least two involved careless driving.

Tips include being more attentive in in areas that are unfamiliar and lessening distractions.

“There may be texting, changing the radio, eating food, dealing with people in the car. You never know. I know it was not in every situation here, but there's always those distractions that take your attention off the roadway,” King said.

Additionally, motorists are encouraged to drive beyond their steering wheel or vehicle hood by looking down the road and planning ahead, and focusing on being better defensive drivers.

“I've trained my kids, the best I could, to play the “what if” game,” he began. “As you're driving and you're looking down the road, you're forecasting way ahead of yourself. What if this car pulls out in front of me? What if a child comes out from behind that tree? What if that car crosses the center line?”

According to King, the goal is to save lives – and given this week’s spate of crashes – keep people safe in their homes.

“Experiencing a car driving through it or in it is kind of definitely unnerving,” he said. “And, sometimes can be preventable, and most times actually should be preventable.”

Sandra Averhart has been News Director at WUWF since 1996. Her first job in broadcasting was with (then) Pensacola radio station WOWW107-FM, where she worked 11 years. Sandra, who is a native of Pensacola, earned her B.S. in Communication from Florida State University.