SUV slams into house
FOUNTAIN SPRINGS - A man sitting in his Butler Township home was severely injured Tuesday when an SUV slammed into the house, trapping him and the driver.
Butler Township police Patrolman Shawn Butler said David Kulp, 919 Fountain St., was taken to Geisinger Medical Center, Danville, where he was admitted to the Intensive Care Unit in critical condition.
The driver of the Saturn Vue, Ethan C. Kennedy, 28, of 400 W. Mahanoy Ave., Mahanoy City, was also taken to Geisinger and admitted in critical condition.
Butler said the SUV was traveling north at an apparent high rate of speed when it crossed over the southbound lane, then into a grassy area and between a group of trees. The driver's side of the SUV sideswiped one tree, became airborne and crashed into Kulp's home, Butler said.
The impact of the crash threw Kulp from his chair and across the room, where rescuers found him covered in debris.
Due to the structural damage to the home, specialized technical rescue units were called from Yorkville Fire Company, Pottsville, and Mahanoy City's West End Fire and Rescue. However, rescuers from Ashland, Lavelle and Fountain Springs managed to get both victims out before those units arrived.
Butler said his investigation into the crash is continuing and that it is too early to say whether charges will be filed against Kennedy.
Deborah Cancel was home at 917 Fountain St. when she heard the loud crash next door.
"I was asleep and I heard what I thought was an explosion," Cancel said. "I first went to the bedroom window because it sounded like it was at the school. I heard excited voices but saw nothing. So I went outside and saw my husband was already outside. I looked down the road (northward) first and saw nothing, then I turned in the other direction and my husband said, 'A car just went through Dave's house.' We walked over there and we saw Dave's light was on, so we knew he was at home. I didn't see him outside so I knew he had been hurt."
Deborah's husband, Reinaldo Cancel, added, "People are speeding through here. It seems like they're going 120 miles per hour."
"We want to try to get the speed limit changed here," Deborah Cancel said.
"Before somebody gets killed," Reinaldo Cancel said.
The Cancels said it wasn't unusual to see Kulp sitting on his front step smoking a cigarette in the morning and it was fortunate that he was inside instead when the vehicle hit the home.
Cindy Heiser, Locustdale, was heading home from work when she drove passed Kulp's home and saw the SUV through the front wall. Heiser, a friend of Kulp, was watching the firefighters from the Cancels' driveway and taking care of Kulp's dog, Maggy.
"Usually, when I come by here in the mornings, I would see him sitting out on that step," Heiser said. "He was inside this morning on his chair. I don't know if he was pinned there but they got him out."
Heiser was told that when Kulp was in the ambulance, he was concerned about his dog, who came out from under the sofa. Maggy was placed in a vehicle owned by Kulp's brother, Dwight Kulp, chief of Locustdale Fire Company. He came over later with some snacks to settle the nervous dog.
After both victims were removed and Pottsville and Mahanoy City rescuers stabilized the roof of the home, the SUV was pulled from inside and towed away.
Frackville and Ashland EMS units as well as paramedics from Shenandoah ALS assisted at the scene, and area fire police and Frackville police assisted with traffic control.
Route 61 in the area of the crash was closed for a short time while the victims were removed and the SUV towed.