Lucky escape for family after learner driver crashes car into front room of their house
A family were forced to leave their home after a learner driver mounted the pavement and crashed through the front wall of the property.
Part of the facade of the terraced house on St Aongus Road, in Tallaght, Dublin, collapsed after the car crashed into the front room shortly before 2pm yesterday.
Tony Valentine, who lives in the house with wife Siobhan and their three young children, was sitting in the front room when the crash happened.
He said he was "shocked" when he realised what had happened. "I heard a bang and the next thing the wall and the front room door came down on top of me," he said.
"I was still in my socks walking through the hallway and I came out and saw there was a car sitting in the driveway."
Mr Valentine said a woman emerged from the car. She was believed to be on a driving lesson, and was in total shock. Crews from Dublin Fire Brigade attended the scene.
Builders from Dublin City Council boarded up the property, while the family will be housed in a hotel until it is deemed safe to return.
The family's three children returned to school this week following the Christmas holidays.
The shocked parents were relieved the children were not around when the crash happened.
"I was so worried about the house and I'm only glad it wasn't last Thursday when the kids were in holidays because they often play in the garden and things could be so much worse," Mr Valentine added.
"I've a seven-year-old, an eight-year-old and a 10-year-old and they play in and out of the garden with the neighbours' children.
"You can see the bikes which were sitting at the front of the house so if you're to take anything good out of, it's that they weren't here."
Ms Valentine's father, Liam Kenny, said he was terrified at the thought his grandchildren could have been playing in the garden when the accident happened.
"This day last week there would have been a group of kids playing - my grandchildren. This could have been a whole different story.
"At the end of the day, this is just property damage and it can all be put right and in a few months time we'll all look back on this as just a bad memory.
"We won't be missing any relatives."
Mr Kenny said driving instructors often brought learner drivers to the area for lessons, adding that greater care should be taken because of the number of children playing on the nearby green.
"This is a residential area - they cannot be doing driving lessons around here," he said.
"It's all the time and never stops around here."