Libertyville homeowner who saw car crash through walls: 'It was a super big boom'
On any other day, Phil and Jane Brown would have been in the dining room of their Libertyville home. Instead, they were enjoying a sunny pre-dinner drink in their living room when the quiet was shattered.
"I thought a plane had landed on the house or a meteorite. It was a super big boom. It was explosive," Phil Brown said Wednesday morning as he surveyed the extensive damage.
A car had left Butterfield Road, traveled through the front yard and smashed into and through the west wall of the brick house on Ridgewood Lane where the Browns have lived for 25 years.
In an instant, the couple jumped to their feet as the wall they were facing caved in. What they saw next was surreal.
"Total devastation. Our bed was out in the middle of the backyard 40 feet away. It was massively violent, like somebody set off a bomb," he said.
Two people were injured and a 5-year-old child was taken to a hospital for observation when a car crashed into the house at 6:10 p.m. Tuesday, authorities said. The Browns were hit with flying debris but were not injured, authorities said.
A Libertyville police officer patrolling nearby heard a loud explosion and saw a cloud of dust, police said. The officer found a 2007 Acura had crashed into the house, according to police.
The officer and witnesses tended to the vehicle's occupants as other police and fire personnel responded. The 26-year-old male driver and a 25-year-old female acquaintance riding in the front seat had to be cut out of the car, according to firefighters.
Both were taken to Advocate Condell Medical Center with injuries that were not life-threatening. The woman's daughter, who was in a booster seat in the rear seat, was taken to Northwestern Lake Forest Hospital. All are from Waukegan, police said.
The child was not injured. Libertyville Fire Department officials said the driver possibly had a medical condition.
Phil Brown said the vehicle was entirely in his house, and the driver was dazed and had blood on his face.
"He was stunned," Brown said. The girl was sitting under a tree. "Somebody took her out of the car immediately, which is amazing," he said.
Police said the driver was traveling north on Butterfield when he lost control. The accident remained under investigation. No charges had been filed or tickets issued.
On Wednesday morning, tree limbs held down a blue tarp that shielded the bedroom and master bath that were taken out by the crash. Bricks, a light shade, picture frame glass, a screen and other household items were scattered about. Two load-bearing walls were destroyed and had to be temporarily rebuilt, said Bob Miller, a representative of United Services.
Miller said the company shores up structures after fires, floods and other disasters, including four or five instances of vehicles crashing into buildings.
"On a scale of 1 to 10, this would probably be a seven. Based on speed and impact, this one entered the home and it's a brick home. It took quite an impact," Miller said. "Just by fate, they weren't in those rooms at the time."
The corner of the home was damaged but remained intact, giving the crew enough leeway to build two walls to keep the roof from collapsing.
Brown appeared calm while discussing the crash and what happens next.
"You know why? It's not my problem. It's an inconvenience," he said. "No one was seriously hurt. We have lots of friends and (insurance) money will take care of this."
• Daily Herald staff writer Safiya Merchant contributed to this report.