A New York woman and a passenger heading west on Birdie Lane in Country Club Shores after 10 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 23, slammed directly into a home without braking, barreling through the garage door, a concrete block wall, hot water heater and refrigerator, finally coming to rest in the closet of the master bedroom.
Town officials declared the home uninhabitable.
The driver, Kay Wight, 71, told police she never braked. She said her engine kept surging.
Wight, 71, was attempting to head home in a 1999 four-door burgundy Jaguar when she failed to stop at the stop sign at the intersection of Birdie Lane and Bogey Lane. Instead, Wight drove the car up the driveway of a home at 1100 Bogey Lane and through the garage door and part of a concrete wall. Four to five of the home’s interior walls suffered major damage.
“There was no sign of braking prior to impact with the house,” the Florida Traffic Report states.
Wight, who was not wearing a seatbelt, according to a police report, stated her car’s engine “surged several times” when initially started “before returning to normal.” She told police the engine surged again and “took off and didn’t stop until she ran into the home.”
Longboat Key Police Chief Pete Cumming, though, said police determined Wight’s vehicle had no defects when it was examined closely Monday. Wight received a careless driving citation Monday.
Wight’s passenger, Mary Manilla of Sarasota, received a minor laceration to the hand. Wight received no injuries. Airbags were deployed at the time of the crash.
The police report stated the vehicle “crashed through the garage door/exterior block wall and came to rest inside of the garage, impaled into the interior wall of the home.”
Longboat Key residents Becky and Bill Oneil, owners of the damaged home, arrived at the home early Sunday morning after being called about the damage. The tenant, Emily Walsh, was out of town at the time of the crash.
Cumming reported that alcohol didn’t appear to be a factor in the incident. A Breathalyzer test was not conducted, and Wight declined medical treatment by Longboat Key Fire Rescue.
When the Oneils arrived, bystanders apparently were standing in the street talking and laughing about what had happened. “It didn’t seem appropriate in light of what happened to my home, which now can’t be lived in right now by my tenant,” Mrs. Oneil said.
Cumming said police concluded there were no symptoms of Wight being impaired at the time of the accident.
Cumming said a time lapse occurred between the time of the crash and the police response, because police were also responding to another report of an injured person at the time of the crash.
Longboat Key contractor Rusty Chinnis said exploratory work still needs to be performed to investigate the extent of the home’s structural damage. Oneil said the house has more than $25,000 in damage.