On Thursday, May 2, a sleeping North Royalton resident received quite a rude awakening when a vehicle crashed through the first floor apartment bedroom. Luckily, no one was injured.
The resident in the apartment stated that “I was sleeping when I was awakened by a vehicle crashing through my bedroom window. After a few choice words, I went outside and told the driver of the Jeep to turn off the vehicle’s ignition and returned to my apartment.”
At about 5:47 p.m. a jeep crashed through the bedroom at Royal Oaks Apartments on Acorn Court, after the 23-year-old driver, who was also a resident of the Royal Oaks, mistakenly stepped on the gas, instead of the brakes. According to the police report, the driver lost control down a small hill into the bedroom window of the apartment unit. The driver of the Jeep stated, “I thought I was parked. My car has roll up windows and I had leaned over to roll up my window on the other side. When I looked over my car was moving, so, in a panic, I went to hit the brakes and hit the gas instead.”
Fire Chief Bob Chegan said that neither the resident or the driver were harmed and didn’t require medical transport. Once that was established, the North Royalton Fire Department then had to extract the vehicle from the building. The apartment directly above was evacuated for a brief amount of time. Chegan said that they first had to determine the structural soundness of the building. The opening was then enlarged and the tires had to be removed from the vehicle. “We had to open up the frame of the structure and support it,” said Chegan. “It was then up to the management to get their construction crew out of there to make repairs.” He noted that it took about two hours to do that, through the use of their technical rescue team, who have training in that regard. Members from the Southwest Emergency Response Team’s (SERT) technical rescue team assisted.
SERT is comprised of fire rescue professionals from 21 communities and organizations from Cuyahoga and Medina counties. They serve not only North Royalton, but also Berea, Brecksville, Broadview Heights, Brooklyn, Brooklyn Heights, Brunswick, Cuyahoga Heights, Independence, Middleburg Heights, Newburgh Heights, Olmsted Falls, Olmsted Township, Parma, Parma Heights, Seven Hills, Strongsville, Valley View Cleveland Metroparks and Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District. Their specialties include a Fire Investigation Unit, Hazardous Materials Team, Land-Based Rescue Team, Water-Based Rescue Team and Incident Management Team. The SERT team serves an overall population of about 343,000 and covers about 182 square miles.
Chegan said that in his 28 years with the NRFD, he has seen similar scenarios, where people hit the wrong pedal and drive into a building. A few that came to mind was at CVS, where the vehicle took down the north side of the building. “The lady ended up going through the wall and hit the shelving unit and collapsed a whole row, like a domino effect,” he said. He also recalled a car at the North Royalton Animal Hospital and the strip center on State.
Contributing Writer