Bruce Redding returned home from the gym Sunday afternoon to find an SUV on his roof and much of the front of his house destroyed.
Authorities say the speeding SUV had hit an embankment and launched into the air, like something out of a Hollywood movie, before crashing down on Redding’s roof in the 5900 block of Lillian Avenue. He was told the SUV sped down Mimika Avenue to where that street ends in a T-intersection in front of his home.
“I can see straight through my house,” said Redding, 66, who had recently paid off the home. “This is everything that I’ve worked for all my life, and for someone to run through a stop sign and destroy it …”
Michael Arras, the St. Louis Fire Department’s deputy chief of special operations, said it was like nothing he had ever encountered as a firefighter.
“That’s not one you get every day,” Arras said.
Authorities arrived at the house about 12:40 p.m. to find the SUV on the roof and the driver trapped in the SUV. Firefighters are used to both climbing ladders and rescuing people from crashed cars — but not usually at the same time. Arras said they proceeded carefully.
“We had accessed the roof and the structure to see if it was safe to get on the roof,” Arras said. “It was determined that it was viable. We put just enough on the roof to make the extrication and get off.”
— KMOV (@KMOV) July 17, 2017
The driver was taken to a hospital. His condition was not known, but fire officials said he was in and out of consciousness after the crash.
Redding, meanwhile, was left with a home that may never be habitable again.
“This is not true,” he recalled saying when he arrived home, alerted by neighbors to the crash. “This can’t be happening.”
Redding recently retired after 22 years at Norwood Hills Country Club, where he was restaurant and bar manager. He said the home on Lillian has been in his family for 40 years, and something similar actually happened in the 1980s or 1990s, when his mother lived in the home. She wasn’t hurt. He’s lived in the home alone for the last 25 years or so.
Family and friends arrived Sunday afternoon to help him salvage some of his belongings. He was able to maneuver himself around in the living room where he used to sit and watch his big screen TV, now destroyed. He said the home was insured.
“The good thing is, I’m alive,” he said.
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