It’s always a good idea to have your neighbor’s phone number handy. Hey, Bruce, are you okay? Yeah, I’m fine, I’m at the gym, why? Well, you better come home pretty quick because there’s a car on your roof. “My initial thought was to find out if he was in the house,” said Terrell Jones.
Residents in the Walnut Park West neighborhood say if you stand near the intersection where Mimika ends at a T with Lillian, it won’t be long “before you would see cars flying by.” Jones and his neighbor, Bruce Redding have seen cars hit their houses more than once. All up and down the residential side street, parked cars are often hit by speeders, but the two men with adjacent houses opposite the T-intersection get the worst of it. One car tore Jones’ railing off and another smashed into the side of the building, coming to rest parked right in between their houses. Redding agreed. “Everybody up and down here has had their yards redone,” he said.
Four replacement stop signs have been installed, the most recent one lasted less than a month. Angelo Bridges, who lives across the street says his neighbor’s yard is like a magnet, “This is the second time it’s happened since I’ve been here for 6 months.”People just speeding, not stopping for stop signs.”
Neighbor Larry Davis watched in horror as the latest fly by tragedy occurred. “I’ll tell you I’ve never seen anything like that in my life…and I probably won’t ever see it again,” said Davis who just came out of the church located on one corner. “The car was going pretty fast, maybe 80-90 mph,” he said. “You could tell, he never took his foot off the gas.” Blowing through the stop sign, the SUV jumped the concrete curb, hit a ramp-like lawn terrace on the other side of the street and launched like one of Kim Jong Un’s ICBM’s. The van hit a pole and knocked over the shiny new stop sign just before describing a perfect arc onto Bruce Redding’s roof. The fire department says, “it’s no doubt the driver definitely lost control of the car.”
Michael Arras, who is the Deputy Chief of Special Operations with the fire department confirmed Davis’ account. “He had to be going 70 miles per hour at least. I don’t know if he had some type of a medical issue that he just lost consciousness and put his foot down on the gas, and it just went flying.”
Paramedics and first responders on the scene commented on the unusual nature of the rescue and its added hazards. “This is kind of rare in the way it happened, how it happened, and how it was able to launch itself all the way up on top of the roof, and that always creates additional problems for us because fear of the roof coming down and stabilization of the vehicle while trying to get the individual out,” Chief Arras explains. The victim was trapped inside, wedged between the dashboard and the pedals. It took almost an hour to remove the man from his vehicle. It was three more hours before a wrecking company was able to get the SUV back on the ground.
Alert and talking at the scene, the unnamed driver, described as a male in his forties, was taken to the hospital with lower body injuries, where he remains in critical condition, reportedly in and out of consciousness. “He was just happy to be alive. You could tell he had a couple of broken bones. It was visible, a lot of blood,” said Davis.
Redding recently paid off the mortgage on the home originally purchased by his mother. “I can see straight through my house,” Bruce says. “This is everything that I’ve worked for all my life, and for someone to run through a stop sign and destroy it…” The red cross is helping Bruce find shelter. “I’ll just gather my thoughts,” Redding said. “I’ll talk to my insurance people and we’ll just take it one step at a time.”
Neighbors hope that with such a dramatic event, the city will finally take notice that nobody is paying attention to the stop signs. Something, they say, must be done before someone is killed. Options include adding speed bumps or making Mimika a one way street.