NIAGARA FALLS – A 30-year Niagara Falls man will not be charged after he apparently fell asleep at the wheel and drove his Dodge Durango into the front of a house at 2008 Hyde Park Boulevard at 8:20 a.m. today.
The man, whose name was not released, is believed to have suffered only minor injuries and was taken to Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center.
Traffic Capt. Angela Munn said the driver was heading westbound on Porter Road and “never stopped” driving, crashing the SUV directly into a house at the corner of Porter Road and Hyde Park Boulevard. She said the man was coming home from work and told police that he thinks he fell asleep.
Two adults and two school-aged children who were tenants of the two-story house were not injured, but were left homeless because the crash caused major structural damage. Niagara Falls Building Inspector Dennis Virtuoso said the house has been condemned and may have to be demolished.
He said he was in contact with the owner of Tayden Properties LLC of California who will be coming to Niagara Falls next week to make a determination.
Virtuoso said there were no skid marks at the scene and the vehicle hit the house with enough force to knock the back of the house about two feet off its foundation.
The car “went right through the whole living room and part of the front wheels of the car were in the basement,” he said.
Virtuoso said it was unsafe to let the family return to the house, but firefighters at the scene helped the family remove most of their property.
The Red Cross was called and will help the family seek assistance through other agencies.
American Red Cross Chief Communications Officer Jay Bonefede said that although they are unable to offer direct monetary assistance, as in the case of a fire or natural disaster, he was in contact with the family and put them in touch with a Red Cross caseworker who will help the family with a plan for assistance.
“It’s not really our role to help people after accidents,” Bonefede said, “But we are not going to leave anyone out on the street.”
There had been a number of negative comments on social media about the Red Cross not immediately stepping forward in this case, but Bonefede noted there may have been some initial confusion since this is not the Red Cross’ usual role. He added, “No single agency can respond to every need in the community.”