Costa Mesa car crash: Close call for family of four


The family was sound asleep when the crash occurred shortly after 1:30 a.m. at Jacaranda Avenue and Myrtlewood Street.

Homeowner Don Vanderwall said the impact shook the house, and he scrambled to get his wife and two young sons thinking it was an earthquake.

"This whole part of the wall right here came flying through," Vanderwall described. "Everything, luckily, kind of flew over our bed. We had a TV mounted on the wall right here, and it actually went flying over our bed and luckily didn't land on her."

Lawrence Smith of Costa Mesa, was behind the wheel of the silver Volkswagen GTI. The 25-year-old was taken into custody for suspicion of driving under the influence. Area residents say Smith tried to flee on foot but neighbors held them until police arrived. According to police, Smith is currently on probation for two prior DUI arrests. He is being held on $100,000 bail.

Smith's passenger, a 24-year-old man, was taken to an area hospital after complaining of chest pains. Authorities said the man will not be arrested.

"Very lucky that no one was critically injured, as it very well could have been, you can see the position of the vehicle. It landed between two bedrooms," described Battalion Chief William Kershaw with the Costa Mesa Fire Department.

Vanderwall and his wife were sleeping in one bedroom, and their young son was sleeping in the other just feet away from where the car came to a stop. Vanderwall says he's still shaken up thinking about how close his family came to a tragedy.

Vanderwall's wife was transported to an area hospital and treated for minor injuries to her face from flying debris.

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