By Jonathan Weaver
Two people were flown to a regional hospital after a sedan crashed into a person’s house last night in East Franklin Township.
One helicopter took off near the East Franklin Township fire station and another from a helipad at ACMH Hospital. The helicopters – both in-route to UPMC Presbyterian in Pittsburgh – contained the male vehicle driver – identified this morning by state police as Travis Confer, 21 of Kittanning – and a 46-year-old female resident in the house at the time.
Confer is said to have suffered injuries to his neck as well as minor cuts, while the woman is said to have a head injury of unknown severity.
Shortly after 9:30PM, Applewold and East Franklin Township firefighters were paged to respond to 531 East Brady Road (Route 268) – about a mile from Montgomery Road where fire police restricted vehicle traffic.
East Franklin Township Second Assistant Chief Matt Kutch was getting ready to go to bed when the pager went off.
“It came in as a vehicle into a house, and after the ambulance went in-route, (9-1-1 dispatchers) came back with an update and said the homeowner advised that there is a vehicle upside-down in their living room,” Kutch said. “They didn’t want to leave the house.”
Kutch said the home residents – one male and one female – both walked out of the structure. A third also suffered minor cuts to his back and arms, according to State Police troopers.
Firefighters were also concerned that another person besides the injured driver could have been buried in the vehicle.
“We weren’t 100 percent sure – that’s why we put the shoring up and called H.O.S.T for additional shoring so we could secure the house and make sure it was safe for everybody to go in and do a few searches of the house,” Kutch said.
Firefighters did not find anybody inside after accounting for the two inside the residence and the driver.
Kutch was officer-in-charge at the incident – where firefighters worked for more than two hours to get the car removed from the residence (also home to local business “After 5 Repair”). Bowser Towing of Worthington reversed into the front yard after debris and cribbing was carefully removed and dragged out the 2006 silver four-door Hyundai Sonata upside-down before flipping it a few yards away.
“It actually came out pretty-smooth – a lot better than I thought it would,” Kutch said.
The vehicle crashed into the house’s aluminum siding and firefighters could see – and walk – into the living room. Half of a front window, front porch furniture, and wooden planks also littered the front yard as firefighters were assessing the accident.
Two State Police units – at one time at least three state troopers – and two Kittanning #6 emergency medical responders stayed at the site for the duration.
State Police troopers have not revealed the identities of the homeowners, and said the crash investigation is ongoing but alcohol is suspected.
Firefighters from H.O.S.T left the scene about midnight
Kutch said it was the first car accident of its kind that he responded to in his 16-year volunteer career.
The house was considered to be structurally-unstable, and the non-injured resident was seen getting supplies to vacate the scene for the night. Kutch and East Franklin Township Fire Chief Mark Feeney spread danger tape around the residence before firefighters left the scene shortly after midnight.
First Energy and People’s Gas officials also shut off service to the residence.
Kutch said it will be up to the homeowner’s insurance as to whether the house can be repaired