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Versailles home is hit by car -- again

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By Stacy Lee
Tuesday, Oct. 11, 2011

For a fifth time in six years, a vehicle veered off Center Street in Versailles and into Mike Smith's yard before crashing into his house.

This time it was a Chevrolet Cavalier that did just that Monday at 11:04 a.m., breaking a wooden fence, going through the yard of a next-door neighbor, turning sideways through Smith's yard and crashing into Smith's house.

Police said the two occupants of the vehicle, both in their 20s, were transported to UPMC McKeesport by Elizabeth Township Area EMS.

"When it hit the porch, both air bags deployed," Versailles police Chief William Kruczek said.

He said both occupants had whiplash and the passenger sustained a knee injury.

Kruczek said a witness indicated the vehicle was going 50-60 mph. The speed limit on Center Street is 30 mph.

"You don't come through a yard sideways going 30 miles per hour," Smith said. "This cracked my house."

Smith said his neighbors' children were outside playing on the lawn when the car went through shortly before the accident in the 900 block of Center Street. Smith's wife Donna just missed the accident as she usually is sitting on her porch at that time.

"I was inside and I didn't even hear it," she said. "My son-in-law called and said (tilde)Someone hit your house.'"

The Smiths' son-in-law heard the accident over the scanner.

"As soon as they opened up the bridge, it's like the Indianapolis Speedway," Smith said, referring to the recent partial reopening of the Boston Bridge.

He said motorists often take Center Street to bypass the traffic lights of Walnut Street to get from the Boston Bridge to the other side of Route 48.

"They just speed through here," Smith said. "It's terrible. It's an everyday thing."

Center Street resident Kirk Campbell escorted the driver of the Monday accident away from the vehicle because it was smoking and he worried it could catch fire.

He said the driver told him, "I wish the bridge was still closed because I wouldn't have had this accident."

Campbell said the driver told him he was driving his friend to work and he was late.

Smith said he uses radar and said the average speed on Center Street is 50 mph.

"I have a disability and I use a cart," he said. "I'm afraid to go across the street."

Kruczek said the borough tried to get the Center Street speed limit changed to 25 mph several years ago. He said PennDOT claimed a survey of the road indicated it could handle 30 mph.

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