Havre Daily News - News you can use

Car crashes into apartment building


April 29, 2002

A 16-year-old Havre girl was cited Sunday night with multiple driving offenses after backing a vehicle with faulty brakes into a side entrance of a Havre apartment complex, Havre police said.

The girl put a 1992 Chevrolet Cavalier into reverse when she was in a parking spot at the Oakwood Village Apartments, which are located in the 1900 block of First Street North. Police Capt. Mike Barthel said he was unsure if the car rolled or if she put her foot on the gas pedal.

It backed into a north entrance of Building B of the apartments, said Havre police Sgt. Russ Ostwalt.

The impact shattered the back windshield of the car, which was wedged between two wooden columns at the entrance. The glass front door of the entrance, and the columns, were also damaged.

No estimate of the damage to the vehicle or the building was available.

The odor from the car's exhaust pipe prompted someone to pull a fire alarm, and residents briefly evacuated the building before the Havre Fire Department cleared them to return.

Witnesses observed the girl and a friend fleeing the scene on foot, Ostwalt said.

Earlier that day, the girl had purchased the vehicle from a man, but the owner warned her not to drive it because of faulty brakes, Ostwalt said.

"They just backed up and couldn't stop," the investigating officer said.

After the accident, officers contacted the previous owner and determined he had not been driving the car.

Later, after she was tracked down at a Havre residence, the girl provided police with a statement, Ostwalt said.

She told officers she wanted to see if the car would start, Barthel said.

The girl told officers she fled the scene because she was scared, Barthel said.

Police arrived at the scene at 8:46 p.m. Sunday. Firefighters were already at the scene when police officers arrived.

The girl was cited for reckless driving, driving without insurance, failure to give notice of an accident and failure to remain at an accident.


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