Passenger in pickup seriously injured after truck slams into SUV, home in Derry

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Oct. 15—Elmer Derry said he and his wife were literally "shaken out of bed" when a pickup truck slammed into the side of their Derry home at 10:30 p.m. Thursday.

"It shook the entire house. It woke us both up," Elmer Derry said.

A piece of wood fence paneling temporarily covers the gaping hole the pickup truck left in the side of their West Owens Avenue home.

"State police took the driver away in handcuffs and the man's passenger was taken away in an ambulance," Elmer Derry said.

Troopers arrested Michael J. Donahue, 38, of Marion Center, Indiana County, at the scene. According to court records, witnesses told troopers Donahue "attempted to walk away" after he was pulled out of the wreckage of his Ford F-150, but responding firefighters "called him back."

His passenger, Marty Foreman, no age or address available, was flown by medical helicopter to the Forbes Hospital Trauma Center in Monroeville with serious injuries, state police said.

Rhonda Derry said they are fortunate no one was hurt, but she said the pickup truck was slowed before striking their house because it first hit a 2014 Jeep Cherokee owned by neighbor, Kathy Boring, that was parked along the street.

Boring said her SUV was totaled. She and her husband, Dan, were working with their insurance firm Friday to acquire a replacement vehicle for her.

Kathy Boring said she had just gone to bed when she heard the loud crash. She said it was a familiar sound.

In the 20-plus years the couple has lived along the 200 block of West Owens Avenue, Thursday's crash "was at least" the fourth serious accident in the residential area. She lost another Jeep Cherokee that was struck by a speeding car several years ago, Boring said.

"I didn't even want to look out the window because I was expecting my son and I was hoping it didn't hit him," Boring said.

She was thankful after learning that her 29-year-old son, Gaven, was already safe inside.

Accidents usually occur when speeding southbound motorists along Route 217, who are unfamiliar with the area, fail to realize they must make a sharp left to stay on the highway and cross the Norfolk Southern Rail tracks via the Derry Veterans Memorial Bridge, Boring said.

Motorists "fly straight ahead into this residential area where cars are parked along the street," she added.

Trooper Nate Ellwood reported Donahue suffered minor injuries and was treated by paramedics at the scene. Ellwood reported in court papers that Donahue smelled of alcohol, had slurred speech and was having trouble standing.

Donahue told Ellwood he drank "two beers" before the crash.

Ellwood said Donahue refused to take a field sobriety test.

Donahue was arraigned on charges of aggravated assault by vehicle, drunken driving, careless driving, reckless driving, driving without a required DUI interlock device, driving at an unsafe speed, failing to stop and render aid, and operating a vehicle without insurance. He was jailed in the county prison after failing to post $75,000 bond.

According to online court dockets, Donahue pleaded guilty in Indiana County to his first DUI in 2014, and was given a six-month probation sentence and ordered to undergo a drug and alcohol evaluation. In August 2015, state police in Indiana arrested him for his second DUI and he pleaded guilty and was ordered to complete 96 hours in jail and 32 days of house arrest. His driver's license was suspended for five months and 26 days.

In 2016, he was ordered to complete a second round of drug and alcohol counseling.

Rhonda Derry said the impact of the crash will be felt by the couple for a long time.

"We still can't walk even walk down the steps to our basement because the crash damaged the foundation that supports the stairs," she said.

Donahue's preliminary hearing is Oct. 27.

Paul Peirce is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Paul at 724-850-2860, ppeirce@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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