(La Porte County, IN) - One of the people inside a garbage truck that demolished the side of a house Tuesday is from La Porte. Two other members of the crew are from southwest Michigan.
La Porte County Sheriff John Boyd said it appears the driver’s side front tire blew on the southbound garbage truck about noon on U.S. 35 near 400 South at Kingsbury. The truck belonged to Lakeshore Recycling and Disposal out of New Buffalo, Michigan.
According to police, after blowing the tire, the truck veered across the grassy median and both northbound lanes before demolishing the south side of the single-story residence.
Dylan Seely, 23, lived in the house with his 22-year-old wife, Simone, and their 11-month-old daughter. Seely said he was at his job in Westville when he received a phone call about the crash from his wife.
“She said a truck went through the house, and I got here as fast as I could,” Seely said.
Mrs. Seely told investigators she had her baby in her arms when she looked out the front window and saw the truck crash through her residence directly in front of her.
According to police, the driver, Jeron Higgins, 41, of Stevensville, was not wearing a seat belt and was ejected from the vehicle. He was transported to the hospital complaining of pain over the entire left side of his body.
Two other crew members, Clyde Fuller, 26, of Galien, and Chris Haverstock, 22, of La Porte, were also taken to the hospital.
Fuller’s face was covered in blood. He also complained of pain in his face and shoulder. Haverstock complained of pain in his left leg. One of the men was transported by helicopter to a trauma center at an outside hospital, police said.
Seely said his wife also wound up at the hospital, where she received stitches to one of her knees after being struck by some debris. The baby was not hurt.
Boyd said a dog inside the home was injured and taken to the clinic of a nearby veterinarian for treatment.
Seely said the damage to the house his family rented for about a year didn’t seem real. “It’s crazy,” Seely said.
The northbound and southbound lanes of U.S. 35 were entirely blocked to traffic for a while to allow emergency responders to go about their work safely.
La Porte County Hazardous Materials Coordinator Jeff Hamilton said there were no fuel or hydraulic leaks on the truck after the collision. Hamilton said he’s never worked a scene where a vehicle went entirely through a house in his 36-year career. He said it’s a wonder nobody was killed or more seriously hurt.
“A lot of lucky people here today. A lot of lucky people here today,” Hamilton said.