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Car smashes into Gretna home, making third crash at property in five years

Car smashes into Gretna home, making third crash at property in five years

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GRETNA — Michael Reynolds, a retired 65-year-old, was sitting on the back deck of his Rockford School Road home when he said his whole house suddenly shook. 

“I didn’t know what it was," he said. “I heard an unusual boom.”

He ran out front to see what had happened and found a blue Cadillac that had run off the road and smashed into his front porch, knocking down a pillar and a potted plant. Reynolds immediately ran inside and called 911. 

The driver, who Reynolds said was conscious when he talked to him, was taken out of the vehicle and transported to a hospital for injuries, authorities said. Units from the Delta Response Team, Gretna Fire and Rescue, and Hurt Fire and Rescue all responded to the scene, said Pittsylvania County Public Safety Director Chris Slemp. 

An obvious trail was left behind the car, which traveled at least 40 yards off the road before coming to rest at Reynolds' porch. The car ran off the left side of the road, first knocking over a neighbor's mailbox. It then weaved between several trees and barreled through Reynolds' yard, ripping up sections of grass, before coming to a halt at the corner of the porch. 

The entire left front wheel of the car, on a tow truck by the time the Register & Bee arrived, was gone, as was the passenger-side mirror.

A Virginia State Police trooper who only identified himself by his last name of Winebrenner, who was on scene investigating and snapping pictures, said there was no information he could provide other than "[the driver] ran off the road and hit a house." 

Reynolds said this is the third time in five years that a crashing vehicle has ended up on his property. One, he said, involved a motorcycle that drove around a curve from the southwest of his home and ended up in the middle of his grassy front yard. Tuesday's wreck and another vehicle crash several years ago involved a car coming from the northeast, where there isn't as much of a curve. 

There have been just a few reported crashes each year on Rockford School Road, a several-miles long residential road that meets U.S. 29 on the southernmost end and intersects with Heartstone Lane in Hurt in the north, data from the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles shows. There were six in 2017, five in 2018, four in 2019 and so far two have been reported in 2020. 

Jay Craddock, assistant resident engineer with Virginia Department of Transportation, said he could not immediately gather data on whether that specific location in the 1200 block is a problem area that the agency is aware of. 

“I don’t think it’s the curves," Reynolds said of the propensity for wrecks at his home. "I think it’s the speed." 

Ayers reports for the Register & Bee. Reach him at (434) 791-7981.

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