North Aurora crash investigation continues
Scott and Theresa Kettlewell were in the backyard Tuesday afternoon, chit-chatting with neighbor Dave Wilkening, playing with their 2-year-old son and thinking about barbecuing for dinner.
Suddenly, a noise Wilkening described as "like a bomb went off" filled the air, and the front door of the Kettlewells' North Aurora house came flying over the roof.
Running to the front, they saw a car lodged in the front bedroom of the home -- a place where, a half-hour before, little Noah had just awakened from a nap.
"It's unbelievable. I keep telling myself someone was watching over us yesterday," Theresa Kettlewell said Wednesday, as she packed up clothes to take with her. Many of Noah's toys, books and stuffed animals littered the area in the front yard where the car hit.
The Kettlewells' house, which they rent, was declared uninhabitable after the crash and fire, which happened around 4:15 p.m. Tuesday.
The driver of the car, 19-year-old Max Dobner of Aurora, was pronounced dead at Provena Mercy Medical Center in Aurora shortly after the crash, police said.
Kane County Sheriff's Department investigators say Dobner was driving a Chrysler Cirrus eastbound on Mooseheart Road, failed to stop at a stop sign and drove into the Kettlewells' yard at the T-intersection at Route 31. The car hit a masonry retaining wall, flew up about 15 feet in the air over an 80-foot stretch, hit a tree and then the house.
Wednesday, Theresa said she was in shock over the event. But it didn't seem to faze Noah.
"He was just intrigued by the firetrucks," Scott said. Theresa said Noah is now asking when the firefighters are coming back. She's told him the firefighters have to go help somebody else now.
The Kettlewells are staying in a hotel while the owner of the house determines what it will take to repair the home. The Kettlewells moved from Indiana to the village in September 2010.
"Did I think that there would be a car in my house? No way! But there have been three accidents at this intersection during the last year, and one of them ended up in our front yard," said Scott, who had just returned home from work when the crash happened.
"The car hit with such force the motor came dislodged from the vehicle and went in through two more rooms and ended up in a bedroom in the back of the house," said Capt. Todd Zies of the North Aurora Fire Protection District. "It wiped out four rooms: A living room, bedroom, bathroom and another bedroom on the other side."
Lt. Chris Collins of the Kane County Sheriff's Department said investigators are still determining what caused Dobner to speed through the intersection, and said neither drugs nor alcohol seem to be a factor in the crash.
"But, we won't know for sure until the autopsy is completed and toxicology results are in," he said Wednesday.
Collins also said it remains unclear if Dobner was distracted while driving, or if the crash was caused by medical or mechanical reasons. The Kane County coroner's office will conduct an autopsy Thursday, but toxicology results will not be available for about two weeks.
Dobner was a 2010 graduate of West Aurora High School, and worked part-time at a Jimmy John's sandwich shop in Montgomery.
"We are all very sad and concerned. He was a very caring person. We really miss him," said Hugo Rivas, the shop's manager. Dobner worked Sunday and Monday nights.
Dobner's Facebook page indicated he attended Waubonsee Community College. It was filled Wednesday with memorial messages.
• Daily Herald staff photographer Brian Hill contributed to this story.