WORCESTER – An out-of-control SUV crashed into a home on Park Avenue in Worcester Thursday night, killing at 83-year-old woman inside.
Police say the driver was speeding just before he slammed into the house at 182 Park Avenue at around 8:10 p.m.
When police arrived at the scene, they saw found people injured and a 2008 Nissan Pathfinder sticking out of the front door of a single-family home.
John Pappas, 53, was knocking at the door of the woman, identifed as Rosemary Turner, when the SUV flew right at him. He jumped out of the way just in time.
“I heard a screech and I turned around and I saw a car coming, and it was coming right at us,” Pappas said. “Seemed like it was airborne at the end there. You couldn’t have aimed better if you tried. Freakish thing.”
Turner had just opened the door when the SUV pinned her. Pappas called for help and thought she’d be okay. “I saw her and said, ‘We’ll see you at the hospital.’ She acknowledged me and she and I went in separate ambulances.”
Pappas was transported to UMass Medical where he was treated for a broken ankle. Turner, the owner of the home, was listed in critical condition and later died.
Preliminary investigation indicates that 39-year-old Hari Dhakal, of Worcester, was driving his Nissan westbound on Institute Road. Dhakal told police he lost his brakes as he was entering the intersection of Park Avenue and Institute Road. That’s when the vehicle slammed into the island, continued over the island, traveled across four lanes of Park Avenue, up and over the curb and into the front door.
It took rescue personnel about 45 minutes to free Turner from the wreckage.
Police say while alcohol does not appear to be a factor, speed appears to be an indicator. There is no word on whether he’ll face any charges. Dhakal said he just bought the car two months ago.
Sean Maher is a family friend of Turner’s. He says she was expected to turn 84 in a few weeks. He questions how fast the driver was going. “He had to be going pretty fast to go 12 feet airborne and make it to where he made it. I mean it’s a shame for him either way. I’m sure there’s no joy for him either. It’s a sad, sad, sad end for her.”
The investigation is ongoing. The victim’s exact cause of death will not be released until results of the autopsy are concluded.
The SUV was towed back to the police station and all operational systems will be checked out thoroughly.