Truck slams into home

Hereford woman asleep in first-floor bedroom is killed in crash

August 13, 2008|By Kevin Rector and Gus G. Sentementes | Kevin Rector and Gus G. Sentementes,Sun reporters

A stolen pickup truck crashed into a house on York Road in the northern Baltimore County community of Hereford yesterday morning, killing a 46-year-old woman who was sleeping in her first-floor bedroom, police said.

The impact of the crash that killed Mary Patricia Sullivan took out a wall of the small bedroom and scattered splintered blinds, pieces of pink insulation and jagged shards of wood. A ripped mattress jutted sideways off its bedframe.

The driver fled but was taken into custody nearby, police said. Purses and other items were found in the truck that police said link the man to a recent string of thefts from vehicles in the area.

Officers who arrived about 5 a.m. at the two-story frame home in the 16800 block of York Road, just south of Monkton Road, found the Chevrolet S-10 pickup truck in the bedroom, which is about 20 feet from the road, police said.

Sullivan was pronounced dead at the scene, said Cpl. Michael Hill, a Baltimore County police spokesman. Her two daughters, ages 14 and 16, had been in another room at the time of the crash and were not injured, Hill said.

The truck's driver, whom police declined to identify, had bruises and scrapes from the crash when police found him, Hill said. The truck had been reported stolen before the accident, Hill said.

Charges had not yet been filed against the man, Hill said.

Neighbors watched yesterday as Baltimore County fire and rescue personnel braced and boarded up the house. Bright orange signs warning that the home is structurally unsafe were taped around the property.

Kenneth Bollinger Jr., who lives down the street, said he was awakened about 5 a.m. by a helicopter circling the area. He said he was surprised to learn that a vehicle had crashed into the house.

"Although [cars] fly down through here, you wouldn't think that they'd come through the house," he said.

But Mary Zane Addy, who owns the home next door and had previously lived there for three years, said the idea of a truck coming through a wall had gone through her mind many times.

"I would sit in my living room and listen to the cars racing by," Addy said. "This is a raceway at night. People fly up and down this street."

Glenn Myers, who lives nearby, agreed.

"You get the crazy people driving that [stretch of York Road] all the time," he said.

Addy said she drove from New Freedom, Pa., where she now lives, to check on her tenants.

She said the death of Sullivan, whom she knew as a "quiet, good neighbor," made her worry about her tenants and her house.

"It's just a reality check," Addy said. "You never know when it's your time."

Hill, the police spokesman, said that investigations of the man in custody are under way.

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