It was Friday the 13th, and Ruie Wiedmeier, 46, and her daughter, Krystal, 21, were in for a rude awakening.
Hearing “a loud noise that kept on going,” Ruie said she and her daughter rushed from their bedrooms on the second floor of their San Juan Capistrano home downstairs to the north side of the building.
Krystal Wiedmeier opened the door linking the kitchen to the garage and found a tractor-trailer sitting in the rubble that had been her garage door.
“It had pushed the entire wall off the garage,” said her mother, a third-grade teacher at Ambuehl Elementary School, as she looked at the broken plaster and wood surrounding her 1983 Toyota.
“My immediate reaction was: ‘Oh my God, my car!’ ”
Shortly before, at 4:45 a.m., a truck hauling two empty trailers struck a disabled van on the right shoulder of Interstate 5 about three-quarters of a mile south of Avery Parkway.
Ken Daily, a spokesman for the Highway Patrol, said the driver, Steven Gilbert, 29, of Santa Ana, lost control of the rig and ran off the highway, through the chain-link fence adjacent to the freeway, across Rancho Viejo Road and through the cinder-block wall surrounding the condominiums of Cedar Grove Court.
The tractor-trailer, owned by Systems 99, swerved after it hit the wall and hit the north end of 26216 Cedar Grove Court--the Wiedmeier garage. The garage door was crushed into pieces, and the garage itself was pushed off its foundations.
Gilbert was taken to Mission Community Hospital in Mission Viejo by paramedics but reportedly was not seriously injured, suffering only head lacerations and a black eye. No one else was hurt.
City Made Temporary Repairs
Wiedmeier said city workers reinforced the garage inside and outside with wooden beams. Her car received very little damage, she said.
Daily said the truck was heavily damaged. Several neighbors’ cars were also damaged by debris.
Wiedmeier said she still can’t believe what happened. She said the trucking company that owned the runaway vehicle was very concerned and that company officials had said they would pay for the damage.
Wiedmeier said it would take her at least a couple of days to clear the debris in her garage.
Since she has lived next to the freeway for three years, Wiedmeier said, she had heard and seen many car accidents. However, this one has left her very concerned about her home’s safety.
Wiedmeier said she was going to sign a petition started by her neighbors to put up a sound wall by the freeway that would protect residences in Village San Juan from accidents and noise.