Charges likely in Amherst accident that injures two as car nearly strikes house

Tuesday, September 02, 2014
AMHERST — Police said charges will likely be filed against the driver of a car that went off South East Street Monday around 10 p.m., struck a tree and nearly hit a house, injuring the male driver and a female passenger.

Sgt. Jesus Arocho declined to specify what the charges might be or speculate on the cause of the accident, as police were still investigating it around 10:45 p.m. He said the occupants of the car were taken to Baystate Medical Center in Springfield with injuries that were not life-threatening. He said he did not know their names.

A path of ripped-up plants and debris marked the route the car took as it crested a hill heading north near 706 South East St. and drove through that home’s yard. It struck a large tree near the brick house and came to rest on the front doorstep. The rear end of the car was crumpled into the backseat and there was also damage to the passenger side and the front of the car.

Initial reports indicated the car had hit the house. Homeowner Janet McGowan, who called 911 after the crash, said she had thought the car hit the house because she heard and felt the crash and looked out a window to see the car next to the house. She said the man eventually got out of the car and was walking around, and the woman was conscious and crying.

McGowan stood on the side of the road in a bathrobe and pajamas while police worked to reconstruct the accident in her yard.

“We were in bed and I heard a car driving incredibly fast,” she said, adding she heard tires squealing before the crash.

She said speeding is a big problem on that section of South East Street, where the speed limit is 25 mph.

“This is not the first accident we’ve seen here,” she said. Residents there have brought it up at Town Meeting, she said. “We’ve asked for years for something to slow people down.”

Rebecca Everett can be reached at reverett@gazettenet.com.