Family survives after truck plows into bedroom
LACEY, Wash. - Tony Tran heard a thunderous crash in the bedroom where his grandmother and siblings were watching TV.
When he came running from the other room, he saw boards, drywall and pieces of furniture on top of the bed, and what appeared to be the front end of a vehicle now visible through a huge hole in the wall.
"Everything was just everywhere," Tony recounted. "I was just worried about my siblings, really. I carried them out. My grandmother was in shock, crying. I had to pull her out too."
It was about 10:20 p.m. Valentine's Day evening and a pickup truck had just plowed into the side of the Tran residence at the corner of Ruddell Rd. SE and 45th Ave. SE.
Police believe the driver of the vehicle experienced some kind of medical problem and lost control.
Officers say the man is in his thirties but will not release his name or what kind of medical condition may have contributed to the accident.
He was treated at a hospital for minor injuries and released. The grandmother and three children in the bedroom sustained bruises and scrapes and are recovering at a friend's home.
"We were so lucky that right now that they are still alive. We were so lucky," said the home's owner, Sang Tran. "That's a miracle."
On the bed were his mother-in-law, 5-year-old son, 3-year-old daughter, and a friend's 5-year-old girl. Also at home, but in another part of the house, were Tran's adult son and another boy.
"The reason they are here, that the car did not go all the way through, is what happened to my neighbor," said the elder Tran.
He's referring to an astoundingly identical incident that happened just over three years ago to the home directly across the street.
In that case, an out-of-control SUV crashed into the bedroom where 16-year-old Austin Blankenship was asleep.
The teenager was killed.
The driver was later convicted of vehicular homicide and hit-and-run.
Here's where a tragedy may have led to a miracle.
It is quite possible the death of Austin saved the lives of those in Friday night's accident. Those closest to Friday night's accident believe that.
"After that horrible incident I knew we had to do something to protect our neighborhood," explained Don Shoemaker. So he found a friend to donate the materials to install five metal posts filled with, and anchored in, cement.
Don didn't install those poles alone. He and Sang Tran did it together, realizing that other homes along busy Ruddell Rd. SE were vulnerable if another driver lost control.
"The only reason they didn't get killed is because of these poles we put in," Don said. "We've had numerous accidents here. All I can say is somebody upstairs was looking down."
While the Tran family is grateful for their good fortune, the damage to their home will create a significant financial burden.
They have no insurance, Sang Tran is unemployed right now, and his wife is working only part-time.
They are asking for donations of materials, labor or cash to help repair the large hole in the side of their home.
To help, contact the family's spokesperson, Vong Tran, at (360) 259-7686.