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Westmoreland

Penn Twp. family awakened by SUV crashing into kitchen

Paul Peirce
| Tuesday, Aug. 21, 2018, 2:51 p.m.

Bill Zurlo said he was jolted out of bed early Tuesday, thinking he heard gunfire or that a lightning bolt had struck his Penn Township home.

When he walked out of his bedroom into the hallway, he discovered a Chevrolet sport utility vehicle had veered off Sandy Hill Road and slammed into his kitchen on Meadow Court just before 1 a.m.

“It sounded like a gunshot had gone off or there was a loud sound of thunder directly inside your house. … It was very, very loud and really startling,” Zurlo said. “My 17-year-old stepson, Dawson, came downstairs and I told him to go right back upstairs and call 911 because I was worried for his safety with all of the debris and glass shards everywhere.”

Although part of the SUV was inside the kitchen, Zurlo said he had to go outside to check on the driver.

“I heard her yell .. she needed assistance to get out,” he said.

Zurlo said he reached across the passenger seat and helped pull the woman out.

“She had a bloody nose and scratches,” he said.

“The first thing she said was, ‘What happened?’ and, ‘Where am I?’” Zurlo said.

A report on the accident was not available from township police. Authorities reported the driver was taken to a nearby hospital for treatment.

Zurlo said police told him they believe the vehicle went airborne and flipped over a hillside after failing to negotiate a curve on Sandy Hill Road, before hitting the house.

“One of the vehicle’s headlights is still resting on top of our roof,” Zurlo said.

Zurlo and his wife, Kelly Becker, who was not at home at the time of the accident, were literally picking up the pieces of their kitchen with the assistance of a disaster restoration service Tuesday afternoon.

Becker said she was taken aback when she received the call from her husband.

“Imagine getting a call from your husband that a vehicle is sitting right in your kitchen. We’ve lived here for less than one year,” Becker said.

The family has lived in the home since September, but noted that the house was previously hit by a vehicle about a year when a driver suffered a heart attack and failed to negotiate the curve on Sandy Hill Road.

Becker and Zurlo said they hope the frequency of accidents on the stretch will result in the township installing guide rails.

“Our last house during our first year there … we had 8 feet of water in the basement because of a flood… now this,” Becker said.

Zurlo said the family is thankful no one was seriously injured.

“We’re really fortunate in that respect,” he said.

Paul Peirce is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Paul at 724-850-2860, ppeirce@tribweb.com or via Twitter @ppeirce_trib.

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