Two men were arrested on charges of driving while intoxicated after a pickup truck smashed into a vacant home on Kent Drive early Saturday morning, Lacey police said.
Michael Toms, 26, of Forked River was behind the wheel of a 2012 Chevy Colorado Pickup Truck, which failed to negotiate the curve of Clearview Street and went into the home at 1 Kent Drive, which is on the corner. The truck smashed through a front room that serves as a bedroom and wound up in an interior hallway, Lt. Scott Tirella said.
There were no injuries in the incident, Tirella said. Toms was charged with driving while intoxicated, reckless driving and refusal to submit to a breath test, Tirella said.
A second car was leaving the scene of the accident when police arrived, Tirella said. Christopher Collacci, 23, of Forked River, also was arrested on charges of driving while intoxicated, reckless driving and driving while suspended, Tirella said. It appeared that one vehicle had been following the other, he said.
Residents said drivers speed along Clearview routinely, despite a 25 mph speed limit.
"You can hear them coming, going 40 or 50 miles an hour," said John Campagna, whose grandmother lives across Clearview from the house that was hit. He was staying with her Friday night when he heard the pickup hit the house.
"I was on the couch and I heard a crash," he said. When he went outside he saw a 4x4 and "two kids in their 20s running around in the front yard." The neighbor who lives on the other corner of Kent and Clearview had summoned police, and they arrived shortly. The pickup truck was so far into the house that he didn't even realize it had hit the house.
A woman who lives nearby and who asked not to be identified said the house had been vacant since August, when the woman who lived there passed away. She and her husband were awakened by the lights from the police cars just as the truck was being removed from the house. The grandson of the woman who had lived there told the neighbor and her husband that it wasn't the first time the house had been hit.
"Thank God," she said, referring to the fact the house was vacant. "Otherwise it could have been far worse." She said speeding is common along that stretch of road because it's a long, straight stretch.
"What a lot of people do is come down Clearview to avoid Route 9 when they've been out at the bars," the woman said, adding that drivers speed along Canterbury Street, a block away, as well.
On Saturday afternoon, marks were visible not only on the concrete curb and front lawn of the home that had been hit, but they were visible on the curb where Clearview curves as it connects with Kent. Shrubbery in front of the bedroom that was smashed was destroyed, and bits of insulation were lying all over the yard.
"They fly through here," the neighbor said, adding that the grandson of the woman who had lived there told them it was not the first time the house at 1 Kent Street had been hit.
"Maybe now the police will patrol this more," said a Pheasant Run resident who stopped to speak with the neighbor on her way home from work.
The Forked River Fire Company responded, and a construction official from the township was called to check the structural integrity of the home. By the afternoon plywood had been put over the hole in the wall, over a side window and the front door as well.