An Altoona man faces charges after police said he wrecked a stolen SUV into a 21st Avenue home.
Jonathan A. Settle, 20, of 1606 20th Ave. initially tried to say he wasn't the driver of a black 2002 Ford Explorer after it plowed into the front porch of a home on the 400 block of 21st Avenue at about 8:30 a.m. Thursday.
Altoona resident Tim McCartney said he and his wife had just left to go to work when a neighbor called to say someone had run into their home at 403 21st Ave.
"It was a rude awakening," McCartney said as he looked over the damage.
The SUV sheared off a brick pillar supporting the porch roof and the porch's right-side windows were smashed. Bricks were strewn across the porch, and the SUV ripped out a shrub before hitting the home.
McCartney, 58, said he didn't know how much damage the wreck caused and was awaiting a visit from a representative of the couple's insurance company, although he did say he would have to at least pay a $250 deductible.
"What bothers me is the roof," McCartney said, pointing out that the crash caused the porch roof to drop several feet before a temporary beam was set in place. He said he worries about how much damage may have been done that can't be immediately seen.
Altoona police allege Settle and two passengers were traveling up the 2000 block of Fourth Street when Settle turned onto 21st Street, lost control and hit the house. Witnesses told police the SUV rounded the turn at a high rate of speed and was on two wheels before crashing, court documents state.
Settle's two passengers fled, and Settle initially said he wasn't driving, but a witness told police he overheard Settle tell someone on the phone, "I'm sorry, I just hit a house."
Police said the owner of the SUV told officers that Settle apologized to her on the phone for wrecking the Explorer and that she hadn't given Settle permission to take the vehicle. Settle, who doesn't have a driver's license, ultimately admitted he took the SUV and said he was driving, police said.
Settle remains free on $5,000 unsecured bail and faces felony theft charges as well as several traffic violations. A preliminary hearing is slated for Wednesday at Central Court.
Mirror Staff Writer Greg Bock is at 946-7458.