Police say a fleeing motorist hit an East St. Louis house Tuesday night after he lost control of his SUV and went airborne before crashing into the structure at 39th Street and Van Buren Avenue.
Washington Park Police Chief Allen Bonds would not release the identity of the 34-year-old Washington Park driver, but said he was in stable condition after suffering a fractured jaw.
Bonds said his officers observed the man, driving a 2001 Chevrolet Tahoe, driving “real recklessly” in Washington Park around 10:45 p.m. Bonds said the driver was doing donuts and spinning around.
When officers put their lights on to pull him over, Bonds said, the driver fled. Officers said they were unable to get his license plate because he was driving so fast.
Then, at 39th Street and Van Buren Avenue, the driver hit two large holes and went airborne. He then hit the house and was ejected from the vehicle.
Police said they found a loaded AK-47 in the Tahoe. The driver was also wanted on a warrant and driving with a suspended license, Bonds said.
Demond Fletcher, 42, was in the bathroom of the house when the crash happened. He said he first heard the sirens coming down the street and then a “loud boom, like an explosion.”
“The dude lost control of his vehicle and it went airborne and ran straight into the window causing all this damage,” he said, pointing to the house Wednesday morning. “It’s messed up, it’s just messed up.”
He said he has lived at the house, at 3904 Vanburen Ave., his entire life. His brother and mother were also in the house at the time of the crash.
Fletcher talked about how his mother, Joan Fletcher, always leaves her bible in the front window where the car slammed into her home. She was sitting there to watch the news when she got up to fix some food and was in the kitchen of the three bedroom home when the Chevy crashed into the house.
“I heard a big crash,” Joan Fletcher said. “It was a loud noise. I turned around and Demond said ‘Mom, somebody hit the house.’ Things started falling from everywhere in the house and in the kitchen, too.”
“It’s a blessing that no one was killed,” Demond Fletcher said, adding that the family had to crawl out of the home after the crash.
The family said they lost everything and have set up a GoFundMe account in Joan Fletcher’s name. As of about 1 :30 p.m. the family had raised approximately $100.
“My auntie sits in that chair every night watching television,” Joan Fletcher’s niece, Tammy Bailey, said. “Ever since we’ve been knee high to a duck, she has done this.”
East St. Louis Police Chief Jerry Simon said his department got the call at 11:15 p.m. reporting that Washington Park Police were in pursuit of the vehicle. They were called out to take a report because the crash happened in their jurisdiction, but Washington Park is investigating.