Firefighters are accustomed to rescuing people and animals from all kinds of high places.
But a motorist? From the roof of a house?
“That’s not one you get every day,” Michael Arras, deputy chief of special operations for the St. Louis Fire Department, told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch on Sunday.
An SUV speeding through the Walnut Park West neighborhood hit the curb and flew through the air like a missile, landing on the roof of Bruce Redding’s home at a T-intersection on Lillian Avenue, authorities told the newspaper.
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Redding was at the gym when it happened. His neighbors called to tell him.
“This can’t be happening,” he told them.
When firefighters arrived on the scene about 12:40 p.m. the driver was trapped in the SUV, which was sitting on Redding’s roof. Much of the front of the house was destroyed.
The driver, said to be in critical condition, was described by neighbors as a man in his 40s, bleeding badly. He was reportedly trapped inside the car, on the roof, for about an hour before firefighters could get him out.
“I’ll tell you I’ve never seen anything like that in my life ... and I probably won’t ever see it again,” neighbor Larry Davis told KMOV TV.
“The car was going pretty fast, maybe 80, 90 miles an hour. He never took his foot off the gas. You could tell, he never took his foot off the gas.”
Fire Department officials said they weren’t sure whether the man had some type of medical emergency that caused him to put the pedal to the metal.
Davis and other neighbors said reckless drivers often speed through that intersection, ignoring stop signs.
Redding, 66, recently retired after 22 years at Norwood Hills Country Club, where he was restaurant and bar manager, according to the Post-Dispatch. The house had been in his family for 40 years; he’d lived there the last 25 or so.
“I can see straight through my house,” Redding told the newspaper. “This is everything that I’ve worked for all my life, and for someone to run through a stop sign and destroy it …”
He recently paid off the house.