Several Vernon families are breathing a sigh of relief this evening after a runaway garbage truck narrowly missed destroying their homes before landing in a sandbox frequented by their young children in warmer temperatures.
Witnesses say a garbage truck was parked up the block on a steep hill when the driver got out to do a routine garbage pick-up. At this point, it is being said, that the brakes failed causing the garbage truck to come barreling down the road and into the Johnson's front and back yards.
The Johnsons live on the corner of 15th Street and 40th Avenue in Vernon. Their home is now missing a large chunk from one corner, where the truck struck the house.
Mom, Amy, and two babies were home just before noon when the truck crashed through their front yard, taking out the bottom corner room and damaging their deck.
“She felt the house shaking then it came through the yard, she saw the deck moving and didn’t really know what was going on. She grabbed both the babies and ran out the front door,” explained her husband, Seth Johnson.
Their six-year-old daughter Ebe was home soon after and was animated over the whole situation.
“My mom saw the deck moving from the kitchen before she even realized what was happening,” exclaimed Ebe. “Now there is a really big hole in our house…it’s really good that Tessa (the dog) was safe, and that my favourite teddy was safe.”
16-year-old Daina and her mom, Angela Bader, were also both home at that time. They saw the truck fly past their window into their neighbour's front yard.
“We were sitting in the front room at 11:30 and my mom felt the house shaking. We looked up and we saw the dump truck go flying past the window. It was going like 50 or 60 (km/h), really fast, and it just flew into the yard and then it started sinking down into the house…it just kept moving… then we saw the driver running behind it,” shared Daina Bader.
Both woman ran into the street and heard the driver explain that he had tried to put on the brake but it must have slipped.
Angela Bader says that if the truck had not bounced off a rock in their yard across the road before crossing the street which slightly changed its direction, it would have gone right into the house.
“It hit the rock in front of our house there. So it bounced off that and went through between the trees and between the houses,” said Angela Bader. “It really launched. It launched over the rock wall and down into the yard.”
“It is a miracle it didn’t go right into the middle of their house. If the rock in our yard wasn’t there it would have gone right in the middle,” added Daina.
Next-door neighbour Louise Schneider was outside on her back deck when the accident took place. She said it happened very quickly.
“I was out on my sundeck and I heard this rumble rumble and I looked over and next thing I know there is a garbage truck in their yard,” shared Schneider.
The Johnson’s home was badly damaged with the bottom corner of their house ripped open and their deck hanging by a string.
Restoration crews on the scene felt their house was sturdy though and still safe to live in while repairs are being done.
The house directly beside them suffered some damage as well, including a broken window and arbor.
Both yards were ripped up and destroyed by the truck.
By 4 p.m. Tuesday afternoon a heavy-duty tow company was slowly removing the truck from the yard.
Fortunately there were no injuries and restoration crews will have the hole in the house temporarily mended so the Johnsons can sleep soundly tonight.
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