Car slides into students’ house, trapping good samaritan

A patch of ice on Pennington Road sent a car into the corner of a student home on Pennington. (Tom O’Dell / Photo Editor)

The dog didn’t eat their homework, but Robert Veith and Zach Friedrich had an equally unrealistic-sounding excuse as to why they were absent from and tardy to class on Thursday, Dec. 2 — a car hit their house.

These juniors at the College, along with Vince Henry, junior criminology major, reside in an off-campus house together in the 1600 block of Pennington Road, adjacent to campus. The boys got an atypical wake-up call that morning, around 6:40 a.m.

“I was sleeping and all of a sudden I woke up and felt my house shaking,” Robert Veith, graphic design major, said. “I looked out my bedroom windows and didn’t see anything, so I figured I imagined it. Then literally a minute later I heard a screech and a crash, looked out the window and saw a car on my front lawn. I ran downstairs and went outside to check it out and found out it had been two separate crashes.”

The Pennington Road home is in the same building as the Jane David’s Salon. Veith, Friedrich and Henry rent the apartments located in the front, while the salon is located in the back.

The cause of the crashes was a patch of black ice on the road, according to an ABC 6 Action News report.

After hearing the commotion, Veith and Friedrich rushed outside to see what was going on.

“First an 82-year-old man slid off the road and drove his pickup truck into the corner of our house, which is what initially woke me up. He got out of the car and a woman had been walking by at the time and went over to check on the man. As both of them were standing there, another car came, hit both the man and then woman and somehow landed on top of the woman and pinned her underneath the rear passenger tire,” Veith said.

According to an article in The Times of Trenton, police said the 65-year-old woman was simply being a good samaritan, attempting to help the man who was hit, when a second car hit the same patch of black ice and landed on top of her. It took over 20 minutes to free her, and she was subsequently sent to Capital Health Regional Medical Center.

The woman broke her leg but did not break any bones where the vehicle was stuck on top of her, reports said. The home was also in better-than-expected condition.

“The front corner of the house is dented and chipped a little bit,” Veith said. “Overall the fire marshal said there was only minimal damage to the basement, otherwise the house is surprisingly fine. I called our

Damage to the house from the collision. (Tom O’Dell / Photo Editor)

landlord to let her know about the accident and I’m assuming she’ll take care of what little damage was done.”

An onslaught of police and medical personnel arrived to the scene, yet somehow they were not noisy enough to wake all of the housemates.

“(Friedrich) had to miss his 8 a.m. class because the cars and police were blocking the driveway,” Veith said. “There were cops and ambulances everywhere. It was insane. My other housemate Vince somehow slept through the crash and didn’t wake up until an hour later when the cops were inside asking us questions.”

Pennington is a four-lane road with no shoulder alongside it, and there isn’t a railing. Campus Police Chief John Collins gave a general statement of warning: “As far as students walking, on campus or off, the only advice I can give them is to walk on sidewalks wherever possible, and to always be aware of the traffic and road conditions around them.”

In a short local news segment on ABC 6 Action News, the house residents were shown for a few seconds speaking about the incident.

“It was pretty cool being on the news!” Veith said. “The interview actually made me late for class, but that night and the next day I got a couple of texts and wall-posts from friends back home saying that they saw me on the news. They (also) interviewed my housemate Zach and his girlfriend. It’s like we were local celebrities for a day.”