St. Thomas students and neighbors said they saw a man driving a truck erratically on Selby Avenue between Finn Street and Cretin Avenue Saturday morning that eventually crashed into the baseball field’s fence.
Apparently no one was injured when a red pickup truck careened into several parked vehicles around 10:30 a.m. Saturday, finally jumping the curb on the south side of Selby, knocking over a lamp post and hitting the right field fence at North Athletic Field.
Police and Public Safety were not commenting on the accident at the scene, although several witnesses, including at least one whose vehicle was struck, described what they saw.
Scott Velders, who lives in the Mac-Groveland neighborhood, said he was driving northbound on Cleveland Avenue as he approached Selby and saw a male driving a red pickup truck that was about to run a stop sign.
“He was going really fast, and he came out of nowhere and I couldn’t stop in time,” Velders said. “He broadsided me and I stopped because I thought, you know, we’re going to call the police and everything, but he took off and whizzed down Selby here.”
A tow truck removes the vehicle that smashed into the baseball field’s fence. (Briggs LeSavage/TommieMedia)
Velders said he turned his car around, thinking the driver would stop after the accident.
“I was hoping he was going to stop at one of the stop signs or something. And I was still thinking, ‘maybe he’s just getting out of the way or something,’” Velders said. “But he kept going and then he went up on the lawns here.”
St. Thomas junior Callan Faulkner said she was making coffee when she heard a crash from her house on Selby and went outside to see what happened.
“When I got out he was driving down the sidewalk past our house. I saw him hit railing after railing after railing and all the fences and go up on yards and stuff like that,” Faulkner said. “So that was pretty crazy.”
Tracks at the scene showed that the car swerved to avoid a tree and continued to travel through neighboring yards. Resident Mitch Lieberherr said he saw the truck barrel into the baseball field’s fence and ran to shut it off.
Lieberherr said he could smell alcohol when he reached the vehicle and described the driver’s condition as “subdued.”
“He was not hurt at all. He didn’t try to run or anything after he just stopped. They (police) put him back into the squad car, and they took him away,” Leiberherr said.
The St. Thomas baseball team was having practice when the crash occurred.
“We are at practice, and we heard some loud commotion,” said freshman ballplayer Lucas Unger. “We looked up and there was a car driving on the grass, and all of the sudden we looked and he swerved off the grass there and went sideways into the road, took out the light pole and ran into the fence.”
After a coach urged someone to call 911, Unger dialed the emergency number and he and his teammates ran over to the accident.
“(The driver) stayed in the car for a long time,” Unger said. “It sounded like the gas was still going, but then a bunch of people came out of their houses and came and looked, and he got out and he was standing on the outside of his car when I came over here on the phone with 911.”
Unger said he didn’t get a good look at the driver.
“Everybody just kind of kept him around his car. When the cops put cuffs on him, it looked like it was hard for him to stand up by himself,” Unger said. “It was a weird thing to see in the morning at practice, that’s for sure.”
Briggs LeSavage can be reached at email@example.com.