Huntington Beach family displaced after SUV rams through wall of their house
A Huntington Beach family is picking up the pieces after the driver of a sport-utility vehicle lost control on Friday morning and slammed into the side of their house.
The accident occurred about 9:30 a.m. Friday, at the home of the Lepe family at 16501 Fountain Lane.
Officials said the driver of the white BMW SUV, an adult woman, lost control as she headed west on Heil Avenue. She veered left and went through a short brick wall and steel side gate before hitting the house.
The condition of the driver was not released Tuesday, but Huntington Beach Police Department spokeswoman Jessica Cuchilla said she had not suffered life-threatening injuries. Cuchilla added that the driver is believed to have suffered a medical emergency that led to her losing control of the vehicle.
Julianne McCarron, who lived at the house with her husband, Chris Lepe, Lepe’s parents and two children, said she was changing the diaper of her 10-month-old son, Jack, when the crash occurred.
“The house was shaking,” McCarron said. “I thought we were experiencing an earthquake, like an earthquake I had never heard or felt before. The walls and the roof just started to cave in, and debris was flying everywhere … I picked Jack up and fell to the ground and just started screaming. My husband was in the kitchen, and he came running down the hall asking what had happened.”
The house has been red-tagged, and the fire department tossed the beds and other belongings into the yard in case of a fire. The family had been renting the home for nearly five years and did not have renter’s insurance, McCarron said.
McCarron said her landlord told her it would take six months to a year for the house to be fixed. For now, the family of four is living with her mother in Fountain Valley.
“We are actively looking for a new home to rent,” she said. “The market is super-slim and way more expensive than it was back in 2018 when we started renting our home. To find something that’s similar to what we were living in before, the prices are really high, and not many places right now are accepting dogs. Our options are pretty slim.”
A GoFundMe page has been established to help the family deal with expenses.
Though their lives have been uprooted, McCarron is grateful that it wasn’t worse. The car crashed into the wall near the bed of her 5-year-old daughter, Harper, whom she had taken to school less than an hour before the incident.
“We’re truly grateful that nobody was hurt, including the driver, as far as we know,” she said. “When they took her away, they said that she seemed OK.”
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