Flushing neighbors of a block they claim is prone to accidents said they were lucky to be in one piece last Thursday morning after a sedan crashed into and exploded on the block.
Around 12:40 a.m., police said an unidentified 21−year−old lost control of his Toyota Camry while traveling east on the Horace Harding Expressway near 61st Road and Main Street. The car struck a pole, flew into the air, crashed into a one−family brick house and exploded, killing the driver, according to police.
“I thought I heard a bomb or a tornado. Then I saw the car in the wall” said Susie Kullawattana, who lives in the house next to the one where the car crashed into.
The family that lived inside the house hit by the Camry was able to escape from the home without any serious injuries as it caught on fire.
“We came over to see what happened,” said Vivian Wang, a friend of the affected family who lives nearby. “They ran out of the house.”
The right side of the house was gutted by firefighters, who put out the fire roughly an hour after the crash, according to authorities. In addition to the home, a Nissan SUV, parked in the driveway of the charred house, and a Infiniti sedan, parked in Kullwattana’s driveway, were damaged by the explosion.
The cause of the accident was still under investigation as of Tuesday, police said. Empty beer bottles were scattered among the debris of the wreckage.
Kullawattana, who has lived on the block with her son, Tony, and daughter, Joy, for 21 years, said she was fortunate her home was not seriously damaged and that she and her family did not get hurt. She had just arrived home from her job as a cook in Manhattan four minutes before the explosion.
Tony Kullawattana, 29, said the section of the Horace Harding Expressway in question is prone to accidents, including one a few years ago where a cab struck his home.
“There are a lot of crashes all the time,” he said.
The area near the accident has had roughly seven auto accidents involving pedestrians, according to the nonprofit transportation advocacy group Transportation Alternatives.
Reach reporter Ivan Pereira by e−mail at ipereira@c
©2009 Community News Group
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