Driver of pickup that struck house comes forward


Diane Crocker
Published on September 2, 2014

The owner of the pickup truck that crashed into the front bridge of a house on Weir Place in Curling paid a visit to the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary headquarters on Wednesday to report the Monday night accident.

The 67-year-old man from Benoit’s Cove told police he was the operator of the vehicle.

The incident occurred at about 11:30 p.m. on Monday. The man’s truck left Curling Street and travelled down across Weir Place, a small lane with two homes on it, and ended up colliding with the bridge on the home owned by Paul and Colleen Newman.

There were no injuries reported in the accident.

The driver left the scene before police arrived and attempts to locate him that night, including bringing in the police service dog, were unsuccessful.

Police say the investigation into the accident is ongoing, but it is likely that the man will be charged with leaving the scene of an accident, a summary offence ticket under the Highway Traffic Act.

The green truck owned by the man had been identified by the homeowners as a Ford, however, police say the pickup was a 1998 GMC pickup.


Colleen Newman was trying hard not to think of the “what ifs” Tuesday morning.

What if her daughter had still been living at home and in her bedroom, or if her husband didn’t decide to get up off the couch and go to bed when he did?

“I could be a widow this morning,” she said as she sat on the deck at her Weir Place home and recalled how an ordinary night turned out to be out of the ordinary.

It was around 11:30 p.m. Monday and Colleen was already in bed asleep. Her husband Paul had been out in the living room and just turned in for the night when a loud crash startled them both and sounded like “a loud clap of thunder.”

Sensing something wasn’t right, she and Paul got out of bed and went downstairs. Colleen’s first thought was that the noise came from their stackable washer and dryer falling over.

With everything OK downstairs they went back up. Paul headed back to the bedroom, but Colleen could still hear a noise like something was running and went outside.

There she found some of her neighbours standing around looking at her house. When she rounded the corner she saw what had drew them there — a green Ford pickup resting up against the house, the engine still running, the lights on and the home’s front bridge demolished.

The Newmans have lived on Weir Place, a little lane off Curling Street with just two homes, for just over 14 years and this was a first for the couple.

“And I’m hoping the last,” said Colleen.

From the skid marks on Curling Street above, it appears the truck left the road just below the Bay of Islands War Memorial, went in through an area of trees and brush and down over a bank to Weir Place.

The truck hit a trailer and boat in a neighbour’s driveway just above the Newman’s home and then went down over their sloping lawn and into the front bridge of their home.

By the time Colleen got outside a neighbour was calling 911. The Corner Brook Royal Newfoundland Constabulary, the Corner Brook Fire Department and an ambulance responded to the scene. The driver of the truck had fled the scene and the RNC brought in its police service dog to search for the person, but with no success.

The truck was removed by a local towing company around 4:30 a.m.

Colleen said she was pretty shaken by the whole experience and, even though she was trying not to dwell on it too much, couldn’t help to think of how much worse it could have been.

If the bridge hadn’t been there, Colleen figures the truck would have gone in through the house and into her daughter’s bedroom. Even worse, if the truck had veered slightly it could have gone through the living room where Paul had been.

She chalks what did happen up to an act of God: “Things was meant to happen that way.”

As she waited for an insurance adjustor to show up, Colleen wasn’t sure if the crash had caused any structural damage to the home. But if it had, she said, that can be fixed. The bridge itself is a write-off and Paul’s not sure if his lawnmower, which was stored underneath it, will work again. But the most important thing to Colleen is that no one was hurt.

The incident is still under investigation by the RNC.