Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Car crashes into couple's house in Holiday; Tarpon Springs man arrested

HOLIDAY — A loud crash shook Bonnie Conlin, 78, awake at 2:30 a.m. Friday. She rushed out of bed and into the living room, which was lit up by a Pontiac's headlights.

The car had smashed through the house. It destroyed brick-covered concrete blocks at the garage, shattered the front window and splintered two white rocking chairs on the front porch. The car ripped apart a couch and crushed a glass coffee table and pushed the armchair where Mrs. Conlin had slept just a night earlier.

She took a quick look at the damage and ran back to the bedroom.

"You're going to have to get up," she told her husband, Earnest. He's 81 and sleeps with an oxygen tank. His hearing is poor, and he slept through the crash.

"We've got company sitting in our living room,'' Bonnie told Earnest, "car and all."

She heard screaming and crying coming from the car and asked whether anyone was hurt. Then she noticed the front right car door open. The driver had fled.

Conlin went to the phone to call 911, but there was no dial tone. The living room phone was off the hook and buried in the rubble. So was her cell phone.

Fortunately, a Pasco County sheriff's deputy had been in pursuit. He pulled up within minutes to apprehend and arrest the driver, identified as Levar Darcy Murray, 22, of Tarpon Springs. He was charged with fleeing an officer at high speed and leaving the scene of an accident.

The two unidentified passengers, a 23-year-old man and an 18-year-old woman, were flown to Bayfront Medical Center in St. Petersburg about 3:45 a.m. They were treated and released.

This was Murray's 20th arrest. His first was in 1998, when he was accused of possessing drugs and a weapon on school grounds as a juvenile. He pleaded guilty to selling drugs in 2005 and was convicted of driving without a valid license in 2006.

Just last week, Murray was charged in Pasco with possessing cocaine, driving with a suspended or revoked license and fleeing an officer. He was released on $9,250 bail.

When Mrs. Conlin learned of Murray's history, she said, "There's no justice."

The Conlins retired in Holt, Mich., and moved into the small house on Holiday Lake Drive in 1986. After the police left Friday morning, they sat in the squeaky rocking chairs waiting for the sun to come up. The air-conditioning still worked, but it was less effective with the gaping hole in the front of the house.

A close family friend, Carrol Ann Simons, 64, came over to help them.

"I think they were looking for the drive-through," Simons joked. More likely, based on the skid marks and tracks across the Conlins' lawn, the car missed the turn for Chelsea Lane.

Simons said she would keep an eye on the house until it is boarded up.

Mrs. Conlin said she doesn't know what the couple will do with their belongings or how they will pay for the repairs. They don't have insurance.

"We'll dig into our reserves, I guess," she said.

Their car, which was in the garage and damaged by the caved-in wall, does have insurance, with a $1,000 deductible. They can't open the garage door to get it out.

Until the home is repaired, the Conlins will stay with friends in Holiday.

Isaac Arnsdorf can be reached at iarnsdorf@sptimes.com or (727) 869-6232.

Car crashes into couple's house in Holiday; Tarpon Springs man arrested 06/05/09 [Last modified: Friday, June 5, 2009 9:01pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Treasury secretary's wife boasts of travel on government plane, touts high fashion

    National

    U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin's wife, Louise Linton, boasted of flying on a government plane with her husband to Kentucky on Monday and then named the numerous fashion brands she wore on the trip in an unusual social media post that only became more bizarre minutes later.

    Steven Mnuchin and his then- financee Louise Linton watch as President Donald Trump speaks during Mnuchin's swearing-in ceremony as  treasury secretary in the Oval Office of the White House on Feb. 13. [Mandel Ngan | AFP via Getty Images]
  2. Ford, Chinese partner look at possible electric car venture

    Autos

    BEIJING — Ford Motor Co. and a Chinese automaker said Tuesday they are looking into setting up a joint venture to develop and manufacture electric cars in China.

  3. Photos of the Day for August 22, 2017 - Eclipse 2017 edition

    Human Interest

    The feature image for this special Eclipse 2017 edition of Photo of the Day comes from Tampa Bay resident Dale McManus. The images below all come from NASA.

  4. NAACP demands Rick Scott and lawmakers remove Confederate symbols from Capitol

    Blogs

    Given the vacuum left by Gov. Rick Scott's silence on the matter, the NAACP Florida State Conference is calling for the removal of all Confederate symbols at the state Capitol. The …

    Adora Obi Nweze
  5. Deputies arrest suspect in armed robbery of 86-year-old Brandon woman

    Crime

    Hillsborough County deputies have arrested a Tampa man suspected of following an 86-year-old woman to her Brandon home and robbing her at gunpoint.

    Hillsborough County deputies arrested Marcus Wayne Hunt, 28, of Tampa, accused of following an 86-year-old woman to her Brandon home and robbing her at gunpoint on Aug. 21, 2017. [Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office]