Lehigh Valley

'We were able to avoid a catastrophe,' police say of truck hitting home

Police stepping up enforcement of area in Bethlehem Twp., Northampton Co.

'We were able to avoid a catastrophe,' police say of crash

BETHLEHEM TWP., Pa. - It was the closest of close calls: A mother and her baby dodged injury and maybe even death when a tractor trailer came careening into their home.

A driver involved in the crash has turned himself and will be facing several misdemeanors, including fleeing the scene and failure to render aid.

"I kicked the door shut and ran across the house, out the back door with my daughter," said Verginia Tavares. "It's all  I could do."

The truck slammed into her home on Freemansburg Avenue in Bethlehem Twp., Northampton Co., Thursday afternoon.

"I was just coming out of the door with my daughter," Tavares said. "I had my hand on the handle of the door and all of the sudden it starts shaking uncontrollably."

A car pulled in front of the truck, causing a collision that sent the truck veering into the home, police said.

"We were able to avoid a catastrophe because of the truck driver's operation. An 18-wheeler, full load, going into the house, rupturing a gas line," said Sgt. Daryl LaPointe, Bethlehem Twp. Police Dept. "Really did risk a catastrophe there."

The car's driver, who police said is a 25-year-old man, fled the scene but turned himself in a few hours later.

Neighbor Mike Dimmich said the intersection is notorious for bad accidents. He called it an unsafe environment.

"People coast right through it and do U-turns right here. Trucks fly by. A lot of  speeding on road," he said.

As for the Tavareses, they're thankful the only damage done was to their home.

"That is the most important part. This is all replaceable; my daughter and family are not," Tavares said.

Police said the area has been deemed an aggressive driving area and they will be stepping up enforcement.

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