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Cargo truck smashes into home in Sehome Hill neighborhood

Runaway truck smashes into Bellingham house

An apparent runaway truck careened down Liberty Street in Bellingham about 1 a.m. Friday, Oct. 7, 2016, striking street signs and parked cars before smashing into a house.
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An apparent runaway truck careened down Liberty Street in Bellingham about 1 a.m. Friday, Oct. 7, 2016, striking street signs and parked cars before smashing into a house.

A family of four escaped serious injury early Friday, Oct. 7, after an unoccupied cargo truck careened down steep Liberty Street, hit two street signs, crushed a parked car, clipped another, and smashed into a home in the Sehome Hill historic district.

Homeowner Tyler Schroeder said his wife and two young children awoke to a tremendous crash just after 1 a.m. Friday.

“It was windy, and we thought maybe a tree had hit the house, but then I realized that we have no trees on the street,” Schroeder said. “But then we came downstairs and saw the truck,” its grille and hood pushed through the front door.

The car was so smashed that I didn’t recognize it was my neighbor’s car.

John Stark, neighbor

Bellingham firefighters helped them squeeze past the wreckage and out the front door – the truck was blocking the stairs. Schroeder and his family spent the night at a neighbor’s home, shaken but otherwise unhurt.

“The good thing is that everyone is safe,” he said. “The kids were great. Patient, but a little overwhelmed.”

No one was in the truck and its parking brake was set, Bellingham Police Lt. Bob Vander Yacht said. He was unsure if a citation would be issued, pending an investigation.

Vander Yacht said the 16,000-pound cargo truck “broke free” from where it was parked in front of a home in the 800 block of Liberty Street, a little more than a block uphill.

“Based on the broken glass on the truck seat (where a driver would be sitting) and limited access to the truck cab, it appears that the truck was unoccupied during the incident,” Vander Yacht wrote in an email.

He said damage was “significant,” but didn’t provide an estimate. Schroeder was still waiting for an insurance adjuster early Friday.

Neighbor John Stark said he heard two loud booms and saw the wrecked car in front of his house.

“The car was so smashed that I didn’t recognize it was my neighbor’s car,” Stark said. That truck must’ve picked up speed pretty fast.”

Robert Mittendorf: 360-756-2805, @BhamMitty

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