NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — New Haven police are investigating what caused a car to crash into a house at the corner of Winchester Avenue and Compton Street early Friday morning.
The crash occurred 2:30 a.m. A gaping hole can be seen in the side of the building, but the truly strange thing is that cars have hit this house three times before over the past few years.
This time, according to police, the 27 year old woman driving said her brakes failed. Her Toyota went all the way inside the ground floor apartment at 91 Winchester Avenue. The landlord says the sleeping tenant was trapped underneath. That tenant had to be rescued by firefighters and is now in the hospital. The owner of the building says the driver was taken away in an ambulance as well. For neighbors, the whole thing was a little too familiar.”
“Yeah, it looks real familiar,” said New Haven resident Eric Durant. “It happened maybe 3 years ago. Same thing, same house, same spot.”
The exact same spot. News 8 was at this same location a little over three years ago, when a crash occurred here the first time. Back then, the car was speeding because it was being chased by police. It too crashed through this wall and landed on top of a tenant, sending him to the hospital with severe burns.
The owner says a smaller crash happened last year as well. He says the problem is people speeding on Webster Street.
“The people, they speeding up, they come drunk, they are on the drugs, whatever,” Ozalp said.
Webster Street is on a steep hill. In the dark as you’re coming up that hill, you might not realize you cannot go straight to cross Winchester Avenue. Instead, you have got to make a little jog to the right. If you do go straight, you go right into the building, as three cars have in so many years.
The landlord says the city planted a small tree to protect the building. This morning’s crash sheared that tree off at the stump. The local city Alderwoman, Jeanette Mirrson, lives down the block and said she is working to get a proper barrier set up.
The City’s transportation director says in November they got a quote to build a guardrail in front of the building. They were going to start installing it as soon as the weather got warmer. The landlord thinks speed bumps, or bumpers as he calls them, are the answer.
“Wake up, New Haven Mayor. Wake up and put the bumpers on the street. If you don’t have money, tell me and I’ll put the bumpers myself,” said Bulent Ozalp, owner of the building.
City engineers say speed bumps are not an option because of the steepness of the hill. The driver and the tenant are expected to be okay. Police have not filed any charges yet, but they are still investigating.
Ozalp says the various crashes have done $20-30,000 in damage, and both tenants in the building want to move out, so he’s going to be losing the rent money as well.