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'If that tree wasn’t there I’d be dead right now'; Car crashes into house in London, Ont.

Dale Carruthers

By Dale Carruthers, The London Free Press

LONDON, Ont. -- Pauline Morello wanted to sleep downstairs, but her husband urged her to come up to bed.

Joseph Morello’s simple act of love may have saved his wife of 57 years from being seriously injured Wednesday morning when a speeding car slammed into the couple’s east-end house.

“I heard a big boom. I thought it was thunder,” said Pauline Morello, 77, who awoke around 4 a.m. to see a Ford Mustang resting against the front of her Culver Drive duplex.

The Mustang was driving east on Culver Drive before in hopped the curb and drove across the Morellos’ lawn before crashing into their house.

The collision ripped sections of brick off the two-storey home and left it with structural damage, said Gerry Spina, the owner of First General restoration, who pegged damage at $40,000.

The impact could have been worse if the car hadn’t struck a large evergreen on the front lawn. Metal pieces from the vehicle were embedded into the trunk of the tree that was left slanting from the collision.

Anita Garnet, who lives in the other side of the duplex, was sleeping in her living room when she heard the vehicle hit her neighbour’s home, just metres from where she was sleeping on her sofa.

“If that tree wasn’t there I’d be dead right now,” said Garnet, gesturing towards the evergreen.

Garnet said she went outside and saw the damaged convertible — blood splattered on the inside, the driver’s side airbag deployed — and two men fleeing from the wreckage, heading west on Culver Drive.

“I was screaming at the guys as they were walking away,” said Garnet, who called 911 before checking on the Morellos.

“They were both really upset,” she said of the elderly couple, who have lived in the house since it was first built in 1975.

Pauline and Joseph Morello, 85, invited a reporter into their home Wednesday to survey the crash aftermath.

In the living room, where the couple’s wedding photo hangs on the wall next to a Maltese flag, furniture was strewn about.

“The TV has been pushed right to the other side of the room,” Pauline said. “It’s a mess.”

Police said a man who showed up at the hospital with serious but non-life threatening injuries shortly after the crash was the driver of car that collided with the house.

Pauline said vehicles often speed on Culver Drive, a twisty road located southwest of Oxford Street and Clarke Road East.

“It’s like a speedway.” Pauline said.

dcarruthers@postmedia.com

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