CARLISLE TWP., Ohio - A driver who had made a regular stop to get gas at a Route 57 Valero gas station Thursday morning exited the business on its south exit drive only to veer directly across Rt. 57, narrowly missing a Waterfall Dr. street sign, then crashed through a stone-enclosed picture window in Mary Hoover's home.
Knocking a couch inside and other furniture fifteen feet through the air to the other side of the room, the driver's foot was still pressed to the gas pedal.
"I heard this huge explosion and the house just filled immediately with smoke and a loud roaring sound," said Hoover.
Working an afternoon shift at University Circle's main campus of the Cleveland Clinic, Hoover hadn't fallen asleep until 2 a.m. that morning. She wasn't sure what the noise was at first, or how close she had been to disaster, sleeping just yards away from the crash.
"I grabbed the phone and called 911 as I hurried outside. There was a little Ford Ranger in my living room with the engine running, smoking. A passerby stopped and asked for a garden hose because the truck was on fire. I was just afraid it was going to blow up," said Hoover.
The truck and wedged itself half in the home, half out, with its rear wheels spinning causing the smoke, soon catching the shrubbery outside on fire, according to Lt. Travis Hughes with the Ohio State Patrol.
"At 7:35 a.m. we responded to a pickup truck that had struck a house on St. Rte. 57 south of U.S. 20. Around that time a passing motorist notified one of our Motor Carrier units that the vehicle had struck a house and a fire began. That trooper responded and arrived on the scene within seconds and proceeded to extinguish the flames," said Lt. Hughes.
Carlisle Twp. EMS units and fire arrived, quickly extricating the driver, the only person in the truck.
Conscious, but incoherent according to Lt. Hughes, he was eventually taken to MetroHealth Medical Center in Cleveland.
The Ohio State Patrol later issued a press release stating that the driver, 48-year-old Nicholas Hill had initially gone to Elyria Memorial Hospital, then taken to MetroHealth.
MetroHealth officials said Hill is currently listed in critical condition.
Hoover's home sustained thousands in damages, but no injuries were reported there.
Hoover's friend Michaelene Brkich said she often talks on the phone to Hoover about being too tired to go to her bedroom at night, often staying on the couch.
"I'm thanking God that she didn't do that last night because that was the couch that he hit," said Brkich.
The Ohio State Patrol said alcohol was not a factor. The accident is currently under investigation.