LEARNER DRIVER SMASHES HOUSE
A MOUNT Louisa couple will be forced to pick up the pieces after a teenage learner driver – who allegedly blew more than three times the legal alcohol limit – rammed into their home.
The house was hit with such force on Sunday night the front door was knocked off its hinges and support beams at the entrance were snapped, taking a section of the ceiling with them.
Early police investigations suggested a 19- year- old man, who was on a learner’s permit, lost control of his vehicle on Roosevelt Loop about 9.45pm on Sunday and crashed into a four- wheel- drive parked on the street before careening into the home.
Police will allege the driver returned a blood alcohol concentration of 0.176 per cent in a roadside breath test.
Resident Nathan Stewart said it was lucky his sister- inlaw, who was in the home at the time, was not injured.
“We were out on The Strand having dinner, my sister- in- law just got home from work. She was watching TV … and ends up with the front door of the house halfway down the hallway and a car in the house,” he said.
“Both the ( entrance) bollards were destroyed, my car was pushed across the driveway and we get a call and … it was devastating.
“Thankfully, the firies came ( on Sunday) night, got a builder and boarded it all up.
“It is so lucky that someone wasn’t hurt. We made an unscheduled stop on the way home so it could have been a lot worse. We could have got home as it happened.”
Mr Stewart said it was frustrating to be left with a severely damaged home that could not be made secure. “I’m very angry about it. “The house is not fully secured, the garage can’t close, and we have a vehicle that is out of action,” he said.
Inspector Joe Kitching said it was lucky no one was killed in the crash.
“The message cannot be clearer and this is a perfect example, if you are going to drink, plan not to drive at all.
“Leave your keys at home or your vehicle with someone else and get a lift,” he said.
“This is a tragic incident as it is with the damage to the residence, but it could have been a whole lot worse if they had struck a member of the community.”
A 19- year- old man has been charged with dangerous operation of a motor vehicle while adversely affected, unlicensed driving and driving unaccompanied on a learner’s permit. The man is due to appear in Townsville Magistrates Court on July 19.
COUNTING THE COST: Nathan Stewart at his damaged Mount Louisa home and ( below) his smashed four- wheeldrive and entrance.