Girl runs parents’ car into a house
WINCHESTER — Three girls ages 12 to 14 and a 5-year-old boy were injured Wednesday morning after one of them allegedly led police on a chase and crashed her parents’ vehicle into a city home.
Charges are pending against the 14-year-old driver, according to Lauren Cummings, spokeswoman for the Winchester Police Department.
She said an officer was in the 300 block of Highland Avenue around 1 a.m. when he noticed a vehicle driving the wrong way.
The 1996 Ford Explorer allegedly backed up on National Avenue and then started traveling south on East Lane.
The officer attempted to pull the vehicle over, and it stopped at the intersection of East and Woodstock lanes.
However, as the officer exited the police cruiser, the Explorer took off at a “high rate of speed” down East Lane, heading south in the northbound lane, Cummings said.
Police followed the vehicle, but eventually lost sight of it.
Cummings said that when the Explorer was located again, the driver had crashed it through a fence and into a house in the 600 block of East Cork Street.
Ryan Cather, 36, was in the home at the time.
“I had just grabbed a snack and came through, laid in bed, and probably about three minutes later [the crash] happened,” he said Wednesday night. “There was a loud noise, the house shook and pictures in every room of the house fell off the wall.”
Another woman in the house had also just gone to bed before the crash, and two children were asleep.
Cather said he didn’t know what to think at first.
“It was 1 a.m. on 9/11, so for the first five seconds of this, I was not sure what was going on,” he said, adding that it was scary. “Once I saw the police lights I knew it was something right here.”
He said EMTs and police were everywhere, and that they were able to get the driver out of the vehicle and onto the ground, but other occupants had to be extricated.
Cummings said the four occupants were taken to Winchester Medical Center with non-life-threatening injuries.
She added that all of the juveniles were wearing seat belts.
The vehicle was totaled, Cummings said, and there was about $5,000 worth of damage done to the fence and house as a result of the collision.
Cather said the vehicle hit the house hard.
“The concrete cinder block foundation has shifted, this wall is all shifted,” he said, pointing to a corner of the living room. “They pushed this wall in eight inches right here, the whole front wall of my house is shifted.”
He added that his insurance had already been contacted and a contractor was coming over later in the evening to examine the damage.
He said he didn’t know why the kids were in the car or where they were going.
Cummings also didn’t know, but said their parents were contacted. Three of the kids were related and the fourth was a friend, she said.
She could not comment on what happened when police notified the parents, but said no charges were placed.
At a recent North End Citizens Association meeting, police said they would be enforcing curfew for minors more aggressively after problems in the area caused by juveniles.
City ordinances currently state that any child under the age of 15 must be off the streets, out of parks and out of public places Sunday through Thursday from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. and Friday and Saturday from midnight to 5 a.m.
The minors in the crash were out past curfew, based on the ordinance.
North End residents also expressed a desire to make the curfew stricter at the meeting and extend the age it reaches.
Cather said he wasn’t angry with the juveniles about the damage, and added that he’d been in trouble recently, too.
“I can relate to making poor decisions,” he said. “I don’t have any grudge against the children or family or anything like that.
“I hope that they’re safe and I hope that this is an eye opener for the child who decided to break the law, because that could just be the beginning.”
— Contact Melissa Boughton at email@example.com