Car hits home in East Palo Alto with baby inside

An East Palo Alto family is shaken but uninjured after a car slammed into their home early Thursday morning, just missing a mother and her two children.
July 26, 2012 6:33:13 PM PDT
An East Palo Alto family is shaken but uninjured after a car slammed into their home early Thursday morning, just missing a mother and her two children.

Officials say a black Cadillac was racing down Bell Street when it went into a driveway, bounced off one house and into another where the family was sleeping on Cooley Avenue. The car came in through a wall and slammed into a book case which hit the bassinet holding two-month-old Layla.

Broken wood and sheetrock debris are now scattered all over the bedroom where Layla, three-year-old Shawn, and their mother, Sarah Gutierrez, were sleeping soundly.

"All of a sudden the car came right in, right towards the bassinet. All I heard was her screaming and then my three-year-old son was screaming. My little brother had to come and break our door down to get us out of the room, because it was only half way smashed," Sarah said.

Layla's grandfather, Edward Gutierrez, says that not only could the family see the danger, but they could also smell it, "Smoke from the radiator and a lot of gas smell from the gas meter."

The gas was quickly shut off and an ambulance was called to the scene but there was no need for it because everyone was fine; shaken to the core, but fine. Sarah believes a bookcase against the wall may have saved her and the children from being seriously hurt.

The Cadillac left more than 100 feet of skid marks. One officer estimated it had to be traveling at least 50 miles an hour before attempting to brake. The car slammed into the first house with such force, bricks went flying, "The lamps are broken, the windows broken, the tabletop is broken," neighbor Carmen Castillo said. "What I heard was a loud noise like, I thought it was thunder, and I was expecting to hear some rain."

Police are trying to put the pieces together, "We're getting reports of possibly two people fled the vehicle, or maybe up to four," Sgt. David Carson said.

Just to be cautious, Sarah took both children to the hospital which gave everyone the reassurance they needed, "I am really thankful right now," Sarah said. "Still a little shook up, but okay. Looking forward to it as a memory!"

For now the three will be staying in a hotel, even when the house is fixed. Sarah says she's really not sure she wants to sleep in that room again.

Police say the registered owner of the Cadillac lives in Alameda and they are following up on all leads. They believe they are looking for at least two men and one woman. So far, no arrests have been made.


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