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SUV crashes into home in Hempfield; no injuries reported

| Monday, June 16, 2014, 12:01 a.m.
JOE NAPSHA I TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Bovard fire chief Greg Saunders checks damage caused by a sport utility vehicle that slammed into the home of Charles and Maria DiPiazza along Union Cemetery Road in Hempfield on Sunday, June 15, 2014.

About a half-hour after Chuck and Maria DiPiazza finished planting perennials in the front yard of their Hempfield home, they got an unexpected Father's Day guest — a sport utility vehicle slammed into the corner of their house, punching a hole in the foundation and sending debris into the finished basement.

“Happy Father's Day. I'll remember it as the Father's Day I almost got killed” because he and his wife had planted flowers at the exact spot where the vehicle crossed into their yard, Chuck DiPiazza said as he looked at his damaged house.

Madeline Swiger, 18, of Hempfield was identified by state police at Greensburg as the driver in the crash, which was reported at 5:20 p.m. The Isuzu Axiom traveled from Union Cemetery Road and onto Courtview Drive before going through his yard, DiPiazza said.

The vehicle went between two oak trees before cutting across the front yard, smashing bushes and breaking through the foundation, narrowly missing a natural gas meter. The driver was lucky she was wearing her seat belt because she could have been thrown through the windshield from the impact, DiPiazza said. The air bags on the Isuzu Axiom did not deploy, even though the front end of the vehicle was buckled.

“If she would not have hit that (cement) urn, it would have gone into the basement,” DiPiazza said, referring to a 200-pound statue in the front yard that was knocked several feet from where it had been standing.

Maria DiPiazza said she was in her back yard when she heard the crash.

“I heard this boom and the whole house shook,” she said.

Maria DiPiazza, a former Hempfield Area School Board director, hugged Swiger, telling her it was OK and that she was thankful no one was hurt.

“My (finished) basement is ruined. You can see the light through the basement,” she added.

Bovard firefighters assisted as the scene.

Joe Napsha is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-836-5252 or jnapsha@tribweb.com.

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