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Minivan's brakes fail as vehicle hits Hempfield house

Brian F. Henry | Tribune-Review
Miles Webb of Webb's Service Center in Greensburg pulls a mini van from the front porch of the home at the intersection of West Newton Road (Route 136) and Thomas School Road in Hempfield Township on Thursday, August 22, 2013.

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Friday, Aug. 23, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

In the seven years Tim Hallam, 36, has lived along Route 136 in Hempfield, there have been four accidents involving a vehicle wrecking into his home.

On Thursday, Hallam received a phone call notifying him of a fifth.

Just before 4 p.m., Hallam's neighbor called to tell him a Toyota Prima minivan had driven onto his porch when the driver's brakes failed and he had “bailed out” of the vehicle.

“It gets hit about once a year here,” Hallam said. “This is the deepest they've made it in.”

Joshua Peters, 24, of Greensburg was driving down Thomas School Road when the brakes in his vehicle failed 40 feet from the stop sign at the intersection with Route 136.

“The first thing I thought was, ‘I'm going to hit the house,' and then immediately I thought, ‘I'm going to hit another person,' because it's two lanes,” Peters said. “No one came through.”

Peters said he considered trying to make the turn onto the road, but he knew he would not be able to make it without hitting another vehicle. About 10 feet before the stop sign, he decided to jump out of the vehicle. As he looked up from the ground, Peters watched the minivan roll into Hallam's yard, hitting a picket fence and crashing into the porch.

Parts of the porch floor and a pillar were damaged, but Hallam said the roof appeared to be intact.

“I expected ‘Lethal Weapon 4' car-in-the-living-room,” Peters said. “I'm so lucky to be alive.”

Peters said he has never had brake problems with his vehicle, and he has never been involved in an accident.

Nicole Chynoweth is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-850-2862 or

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