Police: Driver who crashed into apartment may have had medical issue


COVENTRY, R.I. (WPRI) — Police believe a medical issue may have led to a driver crashing into a Coventry apartment building Wednesday evening.

Crews arrived on scene around 5:45 p.m. and found the car crashed into the side of the building, located on Woodland Drive. Police said the driver was trapped inside the vehicle, which had gone through the wall and several feet into a bedroom.

Crews were able to free the 58-year-old driver from the car. He was then transported to Rhode Island Hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

The tenant of the apartment, Deborah Carpenter-Catania, was not home at the time. She tells Eyewitness News she is lucky to be alive.

“I’m grateful that I’m alive right now,” Carpenter-Catania said. “It was a very lucky chance because at any given time, I could’ve been in that room. I probably would’ve been killed.”

Carpenter-Catania said she was visiting her mother Wednesday night when the crash occurred.

Jo-Ann Liberty, who lives in the apartment complex with Carpenter-Catania, was home at the time and heard the crash.

“I heard a big bang,” Liberty recalled. “I didn’t know what it was.”

Liberty immediately called Carpenter-Catania once she realized the car had crashed into her bedroom.

She said officers were able to locate Carpenter-Catania’s cat, which they brought over to Liberty as Carpenter-Catania rushed home.

“I was afraid that the cat was under the bed because it had run through the wall and into the bed,” Liberty explained.

Neighbors have been by Carpenter-Catania’s side through the ordeal, offering her support and anything she needs.

“Thank God she wasn’t home,” Neighbor Sharon Tanner said. “She would’ve been dead… she definitely would have been dead.”

The building inspector deemed the rest of the building safe, but Carpenter-Catania is displaced due to the amount of damage. Her power has since been restored and she hopes everything will be cleaned up and “back to normal” within the next couple of days.

“There’s definitely a lot of angels looking out for me right now,” Carpenter-Catania said.

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