Monday, December 18, 2017
Public safety

Change in plans keeps brother and sister safe when car plows into New Port Richey home

NEW PORT RICHEY

Domenic Crisafulli ran up Oak Ridge Avenue still in his clothes from track practice. He carried his house keys in one hand; in the other was his phone, which had been constantly buzzing Monday afternoon with friends wanting to know why emergency vehicles were parked in front of his house.

The 17-year-old stopped at the end of the driveway to see the gaping hole in the front of the house, 6014 Oak Ridge Ave. Sitting roughly where the family's refrigerator had been that morning, the trunk of a Honda Accord jutted through the kitchen wall.

Amanda, his 15-year-old sister, was supposed to be home, but he saw her standing safely in a neighbor's yard. They ran to each other and hugged. She told him what happened.

Amanda usually takes the bus home from Gulf High School where she is a freshman, but Monday she decided to walk with a friend. She was walking along Louisiana Avenue when she saw the silver Accord heading west across the road's double center lines to pass a black Hyundai.

Tiffany Small, Natasha Pearson and her 3-year-old daughter, Shayla Hernandez, were in the Hyundai when they saw the Accord trying to pass. Pearson said Small sped up when she saw the other car trying to make an illegal pass. The Accord swerved into their lane. Small swerved to get away, sending the Hyundai onto the road's shoulder where it narrowly missed a telephone pole and instead hit its guide wire.

"That lady was wrong," Pearson, 23, said. "She was real wrong."

The other car, driven by Makeda Hyde, 34, overcorrected, hopped a curb, slid over a patch of grass and across Oak Ridge Avenue, according to police.

Amanda saw the car disappear behind a row of apartments then heard the crash. She walked further and saw where it barreled into her home. She said Hyde was sitting in a lawn chair in the driveway, having apparently emerged from the wreckage.

Amanda ran to a neighbor's house and called her father at work.

Twenty minutes of study hall before track practice kept Domenic, a senior at Gulf High, out of the house Monday afternoon. Otherwise, he said, he likely would have been looking in the fridge for an after-school snack when the Accord barreled through.

Police said both drivers would be charged with reckless driving, a misdemeanor. Hyde was not available for comment. Police did not immediately know the extent of her injuries.

Domenic and Amanda stood at the fence in front of their house and watched as a tow truck crept down the driveway to fish the car out of their house.

"I'm just grateful that she's fine," he said.

Contact Alex Orlando at [email protected] or (727) 869-6247.

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