Posted at: 10/08/2013 11:44 PM
By: Dan Levy
BENNINGTON - A Bennington, Vermont couple narrowly escaped injuries in the early morning hours Tuesday when an airborne SUV came barreling through their living room, a frightening ordeal that marked the couples' second brush with danger inside the home they've lived in for 36 years.
Five years ago, a fire chased them out of their home. Tuesday morning it was an allegedly reckless driver that Bennington Police say was under the influence of both marijuana and mushrooms.
The visuals looked like the end result of a chase scene from an old Burt Reynolds movie. The front end of 259 Union Street was torn apart; framing, insulation, and inside furnishings were scattered everywhere.
"We were awakened by a loud crashing noise and a sound which I thought was perhaps our generator going off," said homeowner David Wholsen. "But it was the sound of a car engine racing."
Wholsen and his wife, both retired school teachers, raced downstairs to survey the damage, initially not even realizing what had caused the destruction.
"We were trying to collect ourselves," Wholsen says, "We came out the side door and by that time there were a covey of neighbors and then the police and the fire and so forth. They were the ones that actually told us (there had been a car crash)."
Also climbing out of the wreckage was the driver, 18-year old Marcien Roy, of nearby Pownell, Vermont, who was treated for minor injuries, which turns out to be fortuitous given the circumstances. Police say several spears of wood were protruding from the windshield.
They say Roy was speeding in his GMC Yukon at around 1:15 a.m. and under the influence of marijuana and mushrooms. His car came to rest in the side of 257 Union Street, which needed metal support posts to keep it standing.
Even though the Bennington Code Enforcement officer declared the Wholsen's house 'unfit' for occupancy, they were still living there on Tuesday night. Their next door neighbors were also still inside their home despite significant damage.
Marcien Roy was charged with driving under the influence, issued an appearance citation, and released to a family member.