My granddaughter Becky could not believe the text message she had just received: "Go home Becky. There's a black SUV in your living room! OMG.".
Becky and her sister Alyssa were house-sitting for their vacationing aunt and uncle in nearby Bolton when the startling words appeared on her cell phone. The sender of the message was a next door neighbour friend from Brampton and, no, it was not an April fool's joke -- there really was a vehicle sitting in the living room of the house she shares with her sister, mom and two cats..
The story is incredible. The impulse is to say "no way!".
According to an eye witness who just happened to be working on his car in a next-door driveway, he was startled to see the black late-model SUV pick up speed as it rolled in reverse out of a driveway across the street. As the errant vehicle jumped the curb on the opposite side of the street, the witness said he could see that the door on the driver's side was swinging open and that there was a young person behind the wheel and another in the passenger's seat..
With a split second to make a decision, the man jumped out of the way as the open door of the vehicle brushed past him. "My first impulse was to try to stop the car, but it was going too fast," he told a newspaper reporter at the scene..
The vehicle glanced off the garage side of the neighbour's house, changed direction slightly and crashed through the front of my daughter Debbie's house as shown in the Brampton Guardian photo above. Emerging from the demolition were two very frightened young girls, approximately 12-years-of-age and, fortunately, unhurt..
Information that was pieced together in subsequent investigation revealed that the girls were in the vehicle with the permission of the one's mother. Both mother and daughter were later charged by police..
The resultant interior and exterior damage to my daughter's house (actually owned by her sister Cindy and brother-in-law Joe) was extensive. City engineers determined that structural repairs could be made but the contents of the living room and dining room were totally destroyed -- a chesterfield, chairs, tables, cabinets and a television all wiped out. Shattered glass was embedded in everything, including the floors, walls and ceiling which insurance adjusters ordered stripped and replaced..
The front door of the house, which was not damaged in the crash, was nonetheless smashed in by police in their attempt to determine if anyone was hurt inside the home. (Debbie was at work in Richmond Hill at the time, so no one was home except the cats and they were okay.).
"What are the odds?" you say. A nightmare!...What a terrible story!
Well, the story does not end there..
Out of necessity, Debbie took time off work several days later to make herself available to adjusters and repair people. With some errands to run, she was in her car at one point when "bang!", there was the sickening crunch of metal on metal. Another car had collided with the vehicle on which she had spent hundreds of dollars in repairs earlier that week. Miraculously, no one was hurt..
Damage to both vehicles was extensive, however, and police were summoned. The driver of the other car, a young woman, sheepishly called the investigating police officer aside and admitted that she was driving her boy friend's car and that she did not have a valid driver's licence. Unbelievable! If that young woman ever does decide to conform to the law and get a driver's licence, good luck to her in applying for car insurance..
As the damage to Debbie's vehicle was being surveyed, a tow truck driver was heard to comment: "You think this is bad? You should see what happened to a house in Brampton the other day.".
"Yeah, tell me about it...That was my house!" Debbie shouted. What are the odds?.
Some days -- scratch that -- some weeks, it doesn't pay to get out of bed in the mornings. It can be a crazy world out there, especially in the Toronto area where not everyone behind the steering wheel of a car has a driver's licence..
In reminding her that things of this nature always seem to happen in three's, a sympathetic car mechanic friend offered Deb the words of comic strip character Elmer Fudd: "Be verwy, verwy careful!".
Amen to that. Poor Deb!.
I'm afraid to answer the telephone anymore.