No parking

Property hit by runaway car for seventh time


The car backed through her driveway and into her renter's truck -- totaling it.

Craig resident Toni Marshall wishes she would have been more surprised, but it was the seventh time a car had rolled down the hill and onto -- usually into -- her Legion Street property.

"I'm just so glad none have actually hit the house," she said.

In the 17 years that Marshall has lived in her house, four cars parked across the street and up the hill at the Highland Green Apartments have rolled into her yard. Marshall said it also had happened three times to the home's previous owners.

"(The cars) haven't made it to the house yet, but they've been trying," she said.

Two weeks ago, a woman left her vehicle running with her two children in it. Marshall said neither were in restraints. The oldest knocked the car out of gear and it rolled across Marshall's driveway into a parked pickup.

Marshall said the impact pushed the truck about two feet, but that it was lucky the truck was there to prevent the car from rolling farther down an embankment, where it is likely someone would have gotten hurt.

Craig police Sgt. Bill Leonard said the car's driver was issued a summons on suspicion of parking without setting the brake and for child abuse for leaving children unattended in a car.

Marshall doesn't know what to do. She's approached the City Council about putting a guard rail around the corner of her property, but was told it would be setting a bad precedent and that whoever erected the guard rail would be liable if anyone hit it and was hurt.

The last time a car rolled into her yard, only to be stopped by a tree, Marshall worked with the manager of the Highland Green complex, and signs were posted encouraging people to park at an angle so they wouldn't roll downhill. But, that was nearly two years ago, and people have gotten lax. Marshall said she offered to have lines painted at her own expense, but the parking lot is gravel.

"It's my house," she said. "I don't feel like I should have to move."

The first time a car rolled into Marshall's yard, a tree stopped it from doing any damage.

The second time, more than $1,400 in damage was done to her fence, yard and deck. Only her retaining wall kept it from rolling into a neighbor's yard and into their hot tub. The noise woke Marshall at 3 a.m. She opened the back door and looked out to see brake lights less than 10 feet away.

"That was not nice," she said. "That was unnerving as hell."

The car was occupied. Ap--parently its owner had been sleeping in the car and knocked it into gear.

The car's owner didn't have insurance, so Marshall's homeowner's insurance had to cover the damage.

The third time, Marshall was watching television when she again heard a noise in the yard. She looked out and "there were those dreaded brake lights where there shouldn't be any brake lights," she said.

They were less than 10 feet from the bedroom wall where the head of her bed is positioned.

The car hit her fence and hot tub.

The fire department had to be called to lift the car off a barbecue grill propane tank that it had rolled over.

"It's not like a daily occurrence," Marshall said, "but you only need one."

Commenting has been disabled for this item.