Car smashes Iolan’s home

Someone crashed a car through Phyllis Lueker's kitchen. She was watching TV in the living room at the time and wasn't injured, but it was a close call.

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December 17, 2020 - 10:06 AM

Phyllis Lueker’s house at 1108 N. Walnut Street boarded up following an incident where a driver smashed through the fence and into her kitchen. Photo by Trevor Hoag

This year just can’t get much worse…

At least that’s what Phyllis Lueker thought until someone drove their vehicle through a fence and into her house on Saturday evening.

“It’s enough to make you a nervous wreck,” the 80-year-old Iolan said on Wednesday, suggesting some residual shock.

Phyllis Lueker

Everything apparently happened around 5:30 p.m., when what sounded like a bomb rocked the entire block.

“I was sitting in the living room, waiting for the weather to come on,” Lueker recalled.

“It sounded like something exploded.”

“So I stepped around into my kitchen, … my kitchen was gone. It was just thrown everywhere.”

“I looked around the corner into my den and the whole north wall was gone out of the den, and I could see the tail end of a car.”

The driver was unharmed, but as Lueker put it, “it sure hurt my house.”

IT SEEMS to have been a surprisingly close call.

For as Lueker explained, when the vehicle struck, “I would normally be at the kitchen sink or in front of the stove, cooking.”

Miraculously, though, a basketball game that had gone into overtime disrupted her regular schedule, and so she wasn’t watching the news and preparing dinner as usual.

“If I had been in the kitchen,” she said, “I’d have been dead because it blew the dishwasher clear out halfway across the room.”

“It’s a royal mess. … I was blessed I was in the other room when it happened.”

Hence she wanted to set the record straight about the extent of the disaster.

“Rumor was,” Lueker explained, “there was only about a four-foot hole in the house. … but that four feet turned out to be about 40.”

Moreover, all utilities including water and electric have been put thoroughly out of commission.

LUEKER’S late-model Honda was also torn up along with the house.

“There was damage to my car when the garage door blew apart,” she explained, so is now having to search for a rental.

“I’ve got to take the car down to Merle Kelly Ford and get it repaired,” she said. “Couldn’t even get my car out of the garage until Monday evening.”

“And the garage door was damaged so I couldn’t get the door open.”

AS FOR the next steps in the recovery process, Lueker is staying with relatives and friends since she can’t yet return to the residence.

She’s currently staying with her son, and then is going to house-sit for a friend who’d already planned to be out of town.

“I’ve got a place to stay,” Lueker said, “but I need a place to move my stuff.”

She then elaborated about how “I’ve got to get stuff out of that house because they’re going to take up the carpets and whatnot.”

“I’ve got a lot of things to do in a few days,” Lueker sighed, “and it’s driving me nuts.”

“It’s an awful lot of pressure on this old lady.”

LUEKER thus continues to be concerned with her health following the incident, but seems to also have been pleased by how well her insurance company has been handling things.

“I don’t need this stress,” she explained. “My blood pressure is up. My blood sugar is up,” though, “the insurance, they’re coming along.”

Lueker is deeply grateful as well for help received from neighbors.

“I have wonderful neighbors,” she said. “They shut off the water so we wouldn’t have much damage, and another helped up tarp up the north side.”

And it doesn’t look like the incident will wreck the holidays any more than has already been done by COVID-19.

“I’ve been staying home like a good girl,” she laughed. “Staying where I was supposed to be.”

Seems that 2020 found it necessary “to come to visit me.”

Lueker remained optimistic, though, maintaining “Next year’s gonna be better.”

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