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Raleigh homeowner demands action after fatal car crash

Posted October 12, 2015

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— When a car crashed into Carlo Bernate's north Raleigh home for the fifth time in eight years early Sunday, he said he was not surprised.

"When I peeked out from the window, I saw the car, and I was like, ‘Oh man, really,’" he said.

Yoni Jose Bonilla-Turcios, 22, was driving north on New Hope Road and lost control of his 1996 Honda sedan. Bonilla-Turcios was taken to WakeMed where he later died.

Bernarte said his home has become a target for out-of-control drivers due to a curve on New Hope Road near Fawn Glen Drive. The five wrecks have been caused by alcohol, speed or a combination of the two. Nearly a year ago, the state promised new safety measures, but nothing has changed.

"First, it happened on May 13, 2007. Mother's Day weekend," said Bernarte.

Three people died when a vehicle struck Bernarte's home in 2007. The home was struck by other vehicles in 2008, 2013, and 2014.

"When someone drives impaired or at 90 mph, there is not a lot we can design to prevent that," said Jed Niffenegger, senior transportation engineer.

According to officials, the city and state worked on a plan to put extra safety measures in place, including raised markers, brighter guardrail reflectors and bigger, brighter signs, but the improvements did not get made.

"The city has been doing a lot of stuff. We need to go find the funding. We identify the project, then we say when is the funding going to come," said state Department of Transportation spokesman Steve Abbott.

He said the state currently has the money, but there is no set timeline for the improvements.

Bernarte said he wants something done so he can stop living in a state of fear and frustration.

"It is supposed to be the safest place that you are going to be in - your own house," he said.

6 Comments

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  • Sarcoi Dosis Oct 13, 2015
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    Maybe put a big sign out front, and decorate the house. Call it "The Real Haunted House" and charge people $25 per person for a Haunted tour. Not many people can say 4 dead in their front yard. 2 of which were decapitated.
    But seriously, I'm glad no one in the family living there has been hurt..

  • Sarcoi Dosis Oct 13, 2015
    user avatar

    Rumble Strips would be Cheap, Easy to install, and would discourage people in general from Racing on Northbound New Hope Road.
    I live here, and get to listen to the traffic, all day, all night. My all time favorite is waking up to the sound of a Sports Bike, with straight pipes turning out 10,000 RPMs while flying by my house at 100+ miles per hour. I suspect that rumble strips would go a very long way from discouraging racers.. Heck, the City could make some nice profit by installing a Speed Trap Camera. No one follows the posted speed limit.

  • Edward Anderson Oct 13, 2015
    user avatar

    c'mon, y'all. All of these suggestions for protecting the home would be hideously ugly! I think cars should be banned; that would keep them from running into his home.

  • Johnny Byrd Oct 13, 2015
    user avatar

    Judging from the pics and angle that the cars are hitting his house there is an easy fix to protecting his house. Just set a steel reinforced concrete tilt panel about 9' high in place of that stone panel they keep knocking down. Then they can just scrape the drunks and speeders off the face of it with no harm to him, his family or his property.

  • Jim Frei Oct 12, 2015
    user avatar

    Get six 8" diameter steel pipes about 8 ft long. Bury in the ground on 3 ft centers just behind the curb vertical so 3 ft is sticking up. Fill with concrete. Problem solved.

  • Vera McGraw Oct 12, 2015
    user avatar

    you may not be able to prevent the driver from disaster....the homeowner deserves some action by the city/state to do some type of barricade/protection/metal and cement bars......the homeowners property is very likely considered unsaleable unless the city acts. I venture to say that no one informed the potential buyer of the hazard... if I was him, I would get a good attorney...... and address not only the city, but the house history and maybe the realty company that sold it.....