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Driver sought after truck crashes into Port Richey house

Contractors and a building inspector discuss the damage to a Rhinebeck Drive home after a pickup crashed into it Wednesday.

JANEL SCHROEDER-NORTON | Times

Contractors and a building inspector discuss the damage to a Rhinebeck Drive home after a pickup crashed into it Wednesday.

PORT RICHEY — Gary Leverich was painting inside his open garage Wednesday morning when he spotted a white F-150 pickup truck speeding down Inglewood Avenue past his home.

"I came out and yelled, 'What are you doing?' " Leverich, 46, recalled.

Seconds later, at 9:08 a.m., the driver of the truck careened through the front yard and into a window of the house at 7134 Rhinebeck Drive — moments after Leverich saw a school bus cross its path.

The front of the truck came to rest inside the living room of the house in Palm Terrace Estates, just south of Ranch Road and U.S. 19. The force of the collision buckled the roof and scattered concrete rubble in the living room.

The driver ran away from the crash. The Florida Highway Patrol identified him as Corey Taylor, 22, and said it is looking for him. Records show that Taylor's license had been suspended and that the truck in question had been reported stolen about eight minutes before the crash.

Angelo Carbone was dropping his son off at a bus stop at nearby Hillcrest Avenue and Palisade Drive when he heard tires screeching.

Carbone, 39, rushed to the scene of the crash. He found a man who had been inside the house walking around outside, unharmed. Carbone took photos of the crash with his cell phone's camera.

The man told Carbone that he had left the living room to heat his morning coffee just before the crash occurred.

"He said he couldn't believe this," Carbone said, "and that he doesn't have insurance."

The man declined to comment to the Times. Records show that the home's owner is Steven Gilrane, 62.

Leverich said that soon after the crash, he saw the driver of the truck riding in the passenger seat of a red Pontiac Grand Am driven by a woman.

Leverich and another neighbor wrote down the red car's license plate number and called authorities. The Pasco County Sheriff's Office and the Florida Highway Patrol arrived to investigate.

Earlier in the morning, Roger Johnson, 36, had reported the truck stolen. Johnson, whose first name also appears in records as Rodger, told authorities the truck had been stolen at 9 a.m. from the driveway of 7621 Ilex Drive in Port Richey.

In the report, Johnson said a spare key to the truck had been hanging in the garage. He said his roommate, whose name was redacted from the report, had been aware of the spare key.

Johnson's driver's license lists his address as 10923 Maplewood Ave. in Port Richey. That's also the address listed on Taylor's driver's license, records show.

Taylor's first arrest dates back to 1999, when he was 13. Since then, he has been convicted of delivery and possession of cocaine and petit theft, among other charges.

On Wednesday, as authorities searched for Taylor and examined the damage at the Rhinebeck Drive house, Leverich stood in his driveway and stared down the street at the scene.

"If that guy hadn't gotten up," Leverich said of the man in the house, "he would have been dead."

Times researcher Will Gorham contributed to this report. Camille C. Spencer can be reached at cspencer@sptimes.com or (727) 869-6229.

>>fast fact

Got a tip?

Anyone with information on the whereabouts of Corey Taylor is asked to call the Florida Highway Patrol at (813) 631-4020.

Driver sought after truck crashes into Port Richey house 09/24/08 [Last modified: Friday, September 26, 2008 2:24pm]
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