The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

January 22, 2013

Teen hits parked car, house

Drifting snow causes slippery conditions on Route 534

By MARGIE NETZEL - mnetzel@starbeacon.com
Star Beacon

GENEVA TOWNSHIP —  Gusting winds, blowing snow and a slippery road caused a teen driver to skid off North Broadway on Tuesday afternoon, hitting a parked car and the front porch steps of a house.

Megan Dunlap, 18, of Geneva was driving north when her Chevrolet Cavalier lost traction, Ohio State Highway Patrol Trooper Ryan Marcy said. The vehicle careened off the left side of the road and struck a parked car at 3821 North Broadway and then crashed into the home’s wooden steps before stopping in the shrubbery.

Marcy said most of the impact of the crash was absorbed by the parked car.

“I think (Dunlap) could have potentially crashed into the house itself if that car hadn’t been parked there,” he said. “The parked car spun 180 degrees and served as a buffer, so she just sort of clipped the steps.”

The roadway was mostly clear, except for short stretches where snow had blown off vacant fields and onto the road.

“The roadway was slippery due to a patch of drifting snow located just before the crash scene,” Marcy said.

Homeowner Tom Marthe said he and girlfriend Linda Demas were watching television in the front room when the impact of the car knocked them out of their chairs.

“It felt like an earthquake,” he said. “Linda said, ‘I think someone hit the house,’ and I said, ‘Come on, no one hit the house.’ Then we look outside and find this poor girl actually hit the house.”

The house, built in 1910, is also home to Geneva Bait and Tackle.

Dunlap was cited for failure to control her vehicle, a charge based on traveling at unsafe speeds for conditions, Marcy said.

No one was injured, Dunlap was wearing a seat belt and her car’s airbags deployed, Marcy said.

Marthe said the crash could have been much worse for Dunlap, as he had removed one of three huge trees from the front yard over the summer.

“There used to be this massive tree right in the path of the crash,” he said. “This really could have been much, much worse. We’re just glad no one was hurt.”

Demas said she hopes the state or the owner of the field will put up a snow fence to stop the patchy, slippery condition of the road.

“The road has been like this all winter,” she said. “When it snows, it is a hazard.”