Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Car slams into house in my Faribault neighborhood December 11, 2020

The scene mid-morning a block from my house shows a KIA Optima lodged in my neighbors’ house.

HOURS AFTER LAW ENFORCEMENT and first responders swarmed my Faribault neighborhood this morning, I called a neighbor to see if she knew what was happening. Up until that point, I’d only walked to the end of my driveway to, from afar, observe at least six police cars and other vehicles parked near a house on Tower Place, lights pulsating. Just minutes earlier, an ambulance turned the corner by my home, sirens blaring. That concerned me.

A child’s slide sits near the point of impact.

The neighbor in me wanted to run up the hill to assure everyone was OK. The journalist in me wanted to race up the hill with my camera. The you’re-not-a-reporter-anymore voice warned me to stay away, that emergency personnel didn’t need extra people roaming the scene.

Close-up you can really see the extent of the damage.

When I observed a tow truck and a flat bed tow truck driving up the street, I surmised that perhaps a vehicle hit the house. My neighbor confirmed that in our phone conversation.

I believe the tarped area is a fort where the boys who live here play.

At that point, with nearly all emergency personnel clearing the scene, I headed up Tower with my camera. I passed by an angled vehicle blocking the street and was greeted by a police officer who asked if I was from the Daily News. I told him I was a neighbor, but that I sometimes work with the local paper. He seemed OK with that. I asked if everyone inside the house—a couple with two elementary-aged boys—was alright. He assured me they were, but declined to give the condition of those in the vehicle. Media reports state both the driver and passenger were taken to the hospital with the passenger flown to the metro and that the incident involved a police pursuit which was called off.

This house is within a block of mine.

My first look at the blue KIA Optima lodged into the house at 128 Tower Place left me standing there in disbelief. The car apparently hit the house at a high rate of speed given the damage to both car and house and given the entire front of the KIA rested inside the home.

I’ve been in this house, when the previous owner lived there. If I remember correctly, the section hit is the kitchen. This incident happened around breakfast time, well before 9 a.m. That the family inside was not injured and that no gas explosion occurred are truly reasons to feel grateful.

Tracks and paint mark the path the car followed as it shot across the road and flew over a fence before landing inside the house.

Once I took my focus off the house and car, I looked for signs of how the KIA got into the yard without demolishing the chain link fence. Tire marks and paint sprayed by investigators show that the car failed to negotiate a turn and then launched from a hill, over the fence, across the yard and into the house.

Hours after the crash, police and State Patrol remained on-scene. This is located near Bethlehem Academy, to the left.

As I photographed the tire marks, the police officer standing guard advised me that I was walking in an investigation scene. I apologized. The thought hadn’t even crossed my mind. I overheard him tell to young people that the Minnesota State Patrol would wrap up its investigation within an hour. He was tight-lipped, and rightly so. He suggested that I’d taken enough pictures. He extended only kindness to me at my misstep. I got the hint, apologized again, and started back home, shaken.

This isn’t the first time a car hit a house in my neighborhood. Decades ago, a parked car rolled down another steep hillside street and slammed into the front of our next-door neighbors’ house. And a tire once came off a vehicle, rolled down the hill and slammed into our house, nearly hitting the gas line/meter. The tire mark is still there on the siding. Yet, that’s nothing compared to what happened this morning at 128 Tower Place.

© Copyright 2020 Audrey Kletscher Helbling


17 Responses to “Car slams into house in my Faribault neighborhood”

  1. Kathleen Cassen Mickelson Says:

    Wow! That’s a lot of damage all the way around. Glad the people who lived there weren’t hurt, which is astonishing all by itself. Really glad there were no kids in the yard at the moment.

  2. Whoa!! I’m glad no one was hurt. Quite a scene. Reminds me of an incident from my teenaged years. Boys and cars. But that incident will be left unsaid.

    Glad all is well.

  3. Jackie Hemmer Says:

    Wow, this must have been terrifying for the family inside the house. It seems they are all ok. I’m glad for that.

  4. Charles P Ziegler Says:

    So the car was a KIA. Anyone who has been in the military knows that KIA stands for Killed In Action. Who ever thought that KIA was a good name for a car company??!!

  5. Susan Ready Says:

    Yikes now that is scary! And over a fence wonder what speed that was clocked at. Guess one just never knows what can happen in a split second- and the fact we should always feel safe in our home but it’s not always the case. .

    • Perhaps the investigation will reveal an estimated speed. There are no skid marks on the street indicating braking. To fly over a fence and across the yard into the house, well, that takes some speed.

      One never knows what can happen in an instant. You are right about that.

  6. That was scary! Amazing that the occupants of the auto lived through that experience.

  7. Wow. I am so glad that the family is okay and certainly am praying that the occupants of the car are okay as well. Scary and a reminder that life is precious and can be changed in a moment.

    • The local paper is reporting that the car was traveling at speeds in excess of 80 mph and that the passenger suffered a neck fracture and possible concussion. The driver has been charged with multiple felonies, according to the newspaper article.

      That no one was killed is truly a miracle as the car sped through residential neighborhoods and crossed a well-travelled street before reaching Tower Place.

  8. Holy Cow! The car was actually air born enough to clear that fence. Amazing.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.