Damage by driver still visible

Resident allegedly sideswipes vehicle, barrels through sign, utility wire and garage

By: Chris Jackett | Farmington Press | Published April 16, 2013

 The back of one resident’s garage on Heritage Lane was damaged March 17, and the damage was still visible April 11.

The back of one resident’s garage on Heritage Lane was damaged March 17, and the damage was still visible April 11.

Photo by Edward Osinski

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FARMINGTON — Residents of Heritage Village West condominiums had a strange start to their St. Patrick’s Day last month, and the damage is still there as a reminder one month later.

At about 9:45 a.m. March 17, a resident in his 70s was taking his 67-year-old girlfriend’s silver 2011 Lincoln MKS to drive their small dog to the groomers in Livonia when he lost control of the vehicle, police said.

The man allegedly left Heritage Lane and sideswiped a 53-year-old Farmington Hills woman’s vehicle as she was driving southbound on Drake Road, according to police. He then reportedly circled around and barreled back into the 72-unit complex through the Heritage Village complex sign, knocking a large boulder out of the entry island and into the middle of the street.

His vehicle then reportedly continued, missing one woman’s residence by 6 inches before going through a guy wire supporting a DTE utility pole, causing a brief power outage for much of the complex, police said. His journey concluded when the Lincoln smashed directly into a 71-year-old woman’s detached garage on Heritage Lane, where she has lived for 38 years.

The woman’s 2002 Taurus was pushed out through the rear brick wall of the garage, and a Chrysler Crossfire that belonged to the suspect’s girlfriend was also inside the garage and was damaged by the debris, police said. The suspect’s girlfriend was away at the time of the incident.

While insurance estimates for the garage are being done, the damaged vehicles have been removed and repaired, but the garage nearest to Drake Road is wrapped in police tape.

The driver who caused the incident said he had one drink the night before, but blew a 0.09 percent blood-alcohol content on a breath test following the incident that morning, according to police; the legal limit for operating a vehicle in Michigan is 0.08. Officers said his eyes appeared glassy, but his speech was not slurred. The man was charged with operating a vehicle while intoxicated.

It was determined by a physician that the man had low blood sugar.

“The blood test results aren’t back in yet,” said Public Safety Director Robert Schulz. “It’s not a regular occurrence, but I imagine the alcohol didn’t help.”

The man told police that he mistook the gas pedal for the brake pedal.

His driver’s license was confiscated and destroyed at the scene. He had no prior convictions or offenses.

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