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SUV tunnels through jinxed Flavel Drive house

by: DAVID F. ASHTON - Greg Buckland shows just where he was standing, when a Land Rover smashed into his house and drove right through it and across his back yard.Late in the evening on Friday, January 18th, Brentwood-Darlington resident Greg Buckland turned off the light in his home office, located in his spare bedroom, and was heading to the kitchen to heat up some soup.

An instant later, he heard a loud noise outside the front of his house, on S.E. Flavel Drive, not to be confused with nearby Flavel Street – at the southern terminus of S.E. 60th Avenue. A split second later, Buckland said, the west wall of his bedroom exploded.

“A 2 x 4 flew by, just inches from my head,” Buckland told THE BEE. “It was pretty crazy. I looked around, and saw a car going through my house. It was bouncing diagonally through my house before it blew out the back wall and went into my back yard.”

Standing, bloodied and stunned, Buckland said he struggled to grasp what had just happened. “I was looking through my house, and could see that the car ended up in the backyard, with a front bumper against the shrubs next to the back fence.”

What astounded Buckland even more, he said, was that the driver of the offending Land Rover SUV got out of his bashed-up vehicle, looked around the fenced back yard, and approached the homeowner.

“He didn’t ask if I was OK. He demanded that that I let him out of my house. The guy kind of got in my face. I was going to get my pistol, because I didn’t know what he was going to do.”

When the driver, later identified as 28-year-old James Kelly Anderson, heard sirens approaching, “He ran out of the hole he’d created in the back of house. I grabbed my cat and went out the front door, and saw him running away, jumping fences.”

Although Buckland says that he later learned that Anderson lives nearby, “Police got him before he reached his house.”

A couple of days later, while insurance investigators and board-up crews swarmed over the busted house, Chris, a neighbor, commented that the crash sounded more like an explosion. “You could feel the shock wave from a concussion hitting our house, though we know that nothing hit our house.”

Officially, police haven’t estimated the speed the heavy SUV was traveling. But, the district officers who responded to the crash told Buckland they guessed it had been going between 60 mph and 100 mph.

Buckland soon discovered that, in addition to getting thrown around and beaten up by flying debris, he’d reinjured his shoulder.

“I had surgery before this happened to treat a shoulder injury called a glenoid labrum tear. Now, that’s pretty messed up again. I saw the surgeon today, and he wants me to come back for an evaluation after the swelling goes down. We’ll figure out where to go from there.”

On the positive side, he has had the support of his family, and has been able to make calls related to the incident from the family business, Buckland Sheet Metal Corporation. “That’s right, we put the gutters on your house,” he said, recognizing this BEE reporter.

Buckland said he’s been working to create a list of all the belongings that were destroyed. “Three televisions, a computer, other electronics, and all kinds of things you collect when you live in a house for twenty years. And, we have to sort through all the debris piled up in the back yard, to see if there are any salvageable valuables there.

“I still don’t know if my insurance will cover things like my pond and water features that were broken when the car ripped through the back of the house.”

While insurance adjusters looked and probed the structure for some time, Buckland also doesn’t yet know if the house can be repaired, either.

“Even if the house can be repaired or will have to be rebuilt, I’m not sure I want to live here,” he said. “This isn’t the first time this house has been hit. When I moved in, the insurance company said I had to leave the boulders on the [front] edge of the property, to keep vehicles from hitting the house again.”

But, the huge rocks didn’t protect the house from danger this time, Buckland explained, because his neighbor to the west had installed a new concrete driveway that was elevated several inches, providing a “launching ramp” for the heavy SUV to vault into his house.

“After the last time a car ran into the house, the city said they were going to put up a large barricade on Flavel Drive – which they never did – even though cars have hit the house about once a decade. Instead, they put speed bumps on S.E. 60th Avenue.”

The final insult, Buckland said, was that the errant driver, Anderson – who official records show was arrested 11:06 pm on charges of DUII, criminal mischief, reckless driving, and failure to perform duties of a driver – was “Released on Own Recognizance” the following morning, just hours after destroying his home and seriously injuring him.

“Like I said, I'm not sure I really want to live here again.”