Elderly driver backs into home

Posted at 11:19 PM, Apr 14, 2017
and last updated 2017-04-15 02:19:53-04

A couple is still shaken after their neighbor backed into their University City home. The homeowners say, the driver didn't even know he was in reverse.

Nina Gallegos heard it before she saw it. 

"My first thought it was a bomb," she said. "It was that intense."

She was talking to her sister on the phone - just feet away from where the car landed.

"And then I looked over here and saw the car and then I thought oh my god, is that Tom?"

Tom is the family's elderly neighbor. He was backing up out of his driveway across the street when he mistakenly backed his car into their home. As a result of the crash, a wall was damaged and their newly finished garden was destroyed.

Gallegos and her husband say Tom - who is 85-years-old - had recently been in the hospital after falling and hurting his head.

"I don't think he's supposed to be driving," she said.

Tom called the family and left a message - because Gallegos had been too upset to speak with him.

"He was crying and he said, 'I'm so sorry, I would never do anything to hurt you or your house.'" Gallegos said. "It was just a freak accident."

Despite all the damage, no one was hurt. Gallegos says her husband had been watering just 10 minutes before the crash and knows it could have been worse.

"He would not have turned around if he would have heard a car," she said. "He would have just assumed it was the street and he could have been killed."

Now, just a couple days before Easter, Gallegos is counting her blessings.

"Life, it's the most important thing," she said. "And everyone should be grateful for what they have."