Local News

Durham Police Car Crashes Into House

Posted September 12, 2005 6:38 a.m. EDT

— A Durham police car crashed into the side of a house at the intersection of Kent and Jackson streets early Monday. No one was injured.

The accident happened at about 2:29 a.m. as Officer John Penta, a 12-year veteran of the Durham Police Department, was responding to assist other officers in searching for a wanted felon, Durham police said in a statement.

Penta was driving north on Kent Street when he made an evasive maneuver to avoid striking a car in front of him and lost control of his patrol car.

The patrol car then jumped a curb on the right side of the road and struck the side of a house at

722 Kent St


The front of the patrol car penetrated the wall of the occupied house and landed in Duke graduate student Terry Jackson's bedroom.

"I heard a loud crash, so, I immediately sat up," Jackson said. "It was just like crash, boom. I saw it -- I ran out of here as quick as possible."

Jackson's neighbor, Terrence Sherrod, said the noise woke him up and that he went to see if Jackson was OK.

"He looked like he was in shock," Sherrod said. "The first thing he said was, 'I could've been killed.'"

Jackson said he was thankful no one was hurt, but laughingly said it was not the best way to start off the week.

"It's just, you know, it messes up my day," Jackson said. "It's always something."

The front end of the patrol car and the side of the house both sustained significant damage.

Last year, two Durham groups, the

Community Land Trustees

and the

Bridges Pointe Foundation

, spent about $250,000 renovating the house, which offers subsidized housing for adults with sickle cell anemia.

Selina Mack, a representative of Community Land Trustes, said the house, which is the first of its kind in the nation, gives those living with the disease a chance to live independently.

"There's no other place for them to receive rent this affordable and the support services they need," Mack said.

The two non-profit organizations hope to get the wall fixed as soon as possible, although they are not sure how much it will cost. Jackson has already moved into another part of the ouse.

As for the investigation, no charges have yet to be filed, but the accident remains under investigation. The police department's Professional Standards Division will also investigate the accident, which is standard procedure, the police department said.