LOWELL-A Lowell couple got quite the shock Tuesday morning as they watched a pickup truck come careening through their backyard and into their back porch.
"I heard this scraping noise that sounded like metal and I saw her leave the top of the road," said Charlene Skinner, 68.
Skinner and her husband Fred, 75, were in the room just off the back porch of their 228 Fourth St. home around 10 a.m. when they noticed a pickup truck barreling toward them.
JASMINE ROGERS The Marietta Times
Homeowner Fred Skinner, far left, talks to officers and first responders about the Chevy truck that came rolling off Ohio 530, through his backyard and into his back porch Tuesday morning. The driver of the vehicle, 27-year-old Nicole J. Wenzel, of Beverly, was driving with a suspended license.
The truck, a black Chevrolet S-10 driven by 27-year-old Nicole J. Wenzel, of Beverly, was coming at the house "like a bullet," said Charlene.
"I thought it was coming straight through the house," she said.
The vehicle hit a three-foot tall windmill Fred had built and dragged it several feet through the yard. The truck stopped shy of the house, but ended up completely knocking off the Skinners' wooden porch, which Fred had built in 1976.
At a glance
A black Chevrolet S-10 veered over an embankment on Ohio 530 around 10 a.m. Tuesday morning and traveled about 70 yards before crashing through the back porch of a Lowell home.
The driver and vehicle's only occupant, 27-year-old Nicole J. Wenzel, of Beverly, was in good condition in the emergency room of Marietta Memorial Hospital Tuesday afternoon.
Wenzel will be charged with driving under suspension with other charges possible pending an investigation.
The owners of the damaged home, Charlene and Fred Skinner, said the steep portion of Ohio 530 behind their home is a problem spot and that several cars have struck their garage.
Source: Ohio State Highway Patrol, Marietta Memorial Hospital and Charlene and Fred Skinner.
According to the Ohio State Highway Patrol, Wenzel was coming down a steep embankment on Ohio 530 when she went off the road and careened through about 50 yards of grass on the hillside before crossing the road and traveling another 20 yards through the Skinners' backyard.
She was going about 35 miles per hour, said Ohio State Highway Patrol Trooper Stephen Roe.
"I heard it coming down over that hill and then hit the house," said Rob Bowman, who had been performing a home inspection at a nearby house. "It sounded like a tree falling down. By the time I got here (the driver) was out walking around."
Wenzel was transported to Marietta Memorial Hospital for treatment, said Lowell-Adams Volunteer Fire Department chief Josh Harris, but he would not elaborate on her injuries.
Wenzel was being treated in the emergency room at MMH Tuesday afternoon and was listed in good condition, said Jennifer Offenberger, director of marketing for Marietta's Memorial Health System.
Wenzel was the only passenger in the car. No one else was injured, said Harris.
A cause of the accident was not immediately available, said Roe.
"She wasn't able to tell us what happened in the crash," he said.
As a result, Wenzel will be tested for drugs and alcohol, he added.
She is being charged with driving under suspension since she had a suspended drivers' license, with other possible charges pending, said Roe.
However, the bottom of the hill leading down from Ohio 530 has been the scene of many accidents, according to area residents.
Neighbor Sharon Washburn said she has long been worried that her house will fall victim to a vehicle losing control on the hill.
"It's a heck of a road and drivers don't realize that until the hit the top," she said.
In fact, the Skinners had heard the sound of scraping metal outside their home so many times that Charlene knew exactly where to look when she heard the sound Tuesday morning.
"The garage (at the back of the property) has been hit so many times, so we know that sound," she said.
The Skinners have suggested making changes to the road, such as rerouting Ohio 530 to a point where it can slope more gradually downhill, said Charlene, but any plans to do so have fizzled out.