Van strikes Tyrone building

TYRONE – A crash in Tyrone sent a van into a house and one man to the hospital.

A Ford van driven by Benjamin B. Brower, 41, of Tyrone struck a brick duplex before midnight on Friday on the 400 block of Washington Avenue in Tyrone, according to Tyrone police. Police said the accident is believed to be alcohol-related.

“The whole house shook,” said Bridgette Crue, 27, who was upstairs getting ready for bed along with her husband, Tim Crue, when Brower’s van crossed the center line of Washington Avenue as he was headed north and slammed into the corner of the house directly below the corner bedroom.

“I’ve been in an earthquake before, and it was similar to a small one,” said Tim Crue, 32.

He pointed out he had to get up for work Saturday, so he and his wife were going to bed earlier than usual on a Friday night. Typically they would have been in the living room, likely with their infant son nearby, and right where Brower’s van smashed into the house, leaving a large dent, buckling the wall and shattering windows, he said.

“We’re just pretty happy no one (in the building) was hurt,” Tim Crue said.

Bridgette Crue said she heard the screeching of the van’s wheels first, and after the impact smelled gasoline and saw smoke coming into the house. The couple then gathered up their three young children and got out, she said.

The Crues said Brower was conscious when they walked outside and was trying to get out of the van.

The Crues said they are staying with relatives until they can find out the fate of the home.

Tyrone police said 911 was called at 11:58 p.m., and Brower was trapped for a time in the van, one that appeared to also be carrying painting materials. Brower, who was alone in the van, was taken to UPMC Altoona for treatment of unspecified injuries, although police did say Brower appeared to have a broken leg.

Tyrone code enforcement was called in to inspect the damage, and both the home and an adjacent duplex were deemed unlivable for the moment due to the damage.

Liam Goble, 33, of State College said Saturday he has owned the building, one that dates back to the early 20th century, for about 1 years.

Goble said he was attempting to get an engineer to the site for Monday to determine the extent of the damage. Goble said both portions of the house were rented and that the Red Cross was been called in to assist residents displaced by the crash.