Car hits house

Greenwood emergency personnel and others survey the damage Saturday morning after a vehicle ran off the road and into a house at the intersection of West Claiborne Avenue and Montgomery Street.

The breakup of a teenage romance produced only minor injuries when a 14-year-old driver crashed her family’s car into a North Greenwood house Saturday.

The stunned occupants at 101 Montgomery St. were grateful it wasn’t worse.

“I’m just thankful to be alive. I’m just happy to be here,” said Norma Carpenter, who lives in the three-bedroom home with her 89-year-old mother, Margaret Joiner.

Carpenter was sitting in a recliner in her den Saturday morning, watching “America’s Funniest Home Videos” and chatting with her brother, Robert Joiner, who dropped by for his daily visit and was sitting on the couch a couple of feet away. Across the room sitting in another recliner was their mother.

“All of a sudden the impact hit, and I landed on the floor,” a shook-up Carpenter said about an hour after a 2007 Chevy Malibu crashed through the wall directly behind where she and her brother were sitting.

Pete Floyd, the owner of a Greenwood automotive repair shop, was on the scene shortly after the wreck. He said the driver of the car was his teen-age granddaughter.

“She stole the car, in just plain English,” Floyd said.

He said he was told that his granddaughter had broken up the night before with her boyfriend. Distraught about the split, she had taken the car, without her mother’s knowledge and unaccompanied, to “go to McCarley to see that boy,” Floyd said.

It was a trip she wasn’t equipped to make.

“I don’t think she’s ever driven other than to maybe steer a vehicle out in the country. Certainly never in the city,” he said.

The girl got less than a mile from her home on West Jefferson Avenue before apparently losing control while driving west on West Claiborne Avenue. She went off the road where it intersects with Montgomery Street and down a grassy embankment, only stopping when the vehicle hit the house, breaking the vinyl siding on the exterior and the wooden studs and Sheetrock on the interior.

Robert Joiner, after making sure his sister was all right, then went to check on the driver.

Robert Joiner

Robert Joiner and his sister were sitting right in front of the wall through which a car crashed on Montgomery Street on Saturday. He was uninjured, and she suffered only some bruises and scratches after being knocked to the ground by the blow from behind.

“I made her come in and asked her, ‘Are you OK?’ ... You don’t want anyone hurt. You can always fix the house back,” he said.

The driver’s side airbag deployed in the car, and the teary-eyed girl appeared to be physically unharmed, though thoroughly embarrassed. Carpenter had some bruises and scratches but nothing severe. Robert Joiner said he suffered no injuries.

“The good Lord was watching over us,” he said.

Contact Tim Kalich at 581-7243 or tkalich@gwcommonwealth.com.

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