Car slams into Costa Mesa house; driver arrested

A family of four in Costa Mesa awoke to a dramatic scene shortly after 1:30 a.m. Wednesday when a car slammed into a bedroom, causing minor injuries to the mother.

Police said an intoxicated man already on probation for driving under the influence crashed a Volkswagen GTI through the front wall of the family’s home at Jacaranda Avenue and Myrtlewood Street.

“The only thing I remember was this loud noise and waking up. There was debris everywhere,” resident Don Vander Wal told KTLA. “I thought it was just a massive earthquake that had hit and the house was falling apart.”

He said he rushed to check on his two young boys when neighbors starting knocking on the front door. It wasn't until he went outside, he said, that he discovered the car lodged in the main bedroom.

Vander Wal's wife was taken to Hoag Hospital with minor cuts and scratches from flying debris. Their two boys were unharmed.

The car’s 25-year-old driver, Lawrence Smith of Costa Mesa, was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence, police said. They added that Smith was on probation for two prior DUI arrests.

Smith originally tried to walk away from the crash, but neighbors detained him until officers arrived, police said. His bail was set at $100,000 for the felony charge, according to police.

A man riding in the front passenger seat of Smith’s car was also injured. Police said an ambulance took the man, a 24-year-old from Newport Beach, to Western Medical Center after complaints of chest pain.

After the car was removed, a gaping hole in the house remained, with the interior of the bedroom clearly visible from the street.

Despite the damage, Vander Wal told KTLA that the situation could have been much worse had the car hit just a few feet over, where one of his sons was sleeping in a spare room.

“It's amazing,” he said. “A few feet the other way, and he probably wouldn't be here.”

Wells writes for the Los Angeles Times.

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