Small pickup truck strikes Elkridge apartment

"The truck had gone through the apartment building all the way to the front door."

Howard County police are investigating a collision involving a vehicle that crashed into an Elkridge apartment Sunday morning, leaving one resident injured.

According to police, around 9:30 a.m. July 26, officers and Howard County Department of Fire & Rescue Services firefighters and paramedics were called to Sherwood Crossing apartments in the 6800 block of Old Waterloo Road, where a small pickup truck crashed into the ground floor of building 12, hitting 40-year-old resident Marilyn Schmeits in her apartment. Schmeits was stabilized and rescued while a structural assessment of the building was conducted.

During the investigation, police said, officers found that Mynor Jehovani Monterroso, 40, of Silver Spring was driving a 1998 Chevrolet S10, attempting to reverse the truck from a covered parking space but kept hitting a support pole. Monterroso then drove the truck through the sliding glass door of Schmeits' apartment, police said.

Director of Licenses and Permits Bob Francis said he was called to the apartment later in the afternoon to assess the structural stability of the building.

"The truck had gone through the apartment building all the way to the front door and it pushed through the front door," Francis said. "When you walk into the apartment [building], there's a hallway [with front doors] and a stairway that goes up. The wall down the lengths of that hallway is a low-bearing wall and one of the supports at the end of the door was compromised."

Francis said Special Operations crews installed an emergency shoring system to secure the weakened structure and "to replace some of the things that had been knocked down."

"They did a pretty darn good job," he said. "We posted the one unit as unsafe and let the rest of the folks into the building."

Directly above Schmeits' apartment, resident Christine Hodgson said she had just waved to Schmeits, who was sitting near her window in a wheelchair, before walking up to her apartment and joining her boyfriend on the deck.

"I'm sitting [on the deck] with my boyfriend and we heard [the truck] rev and rev," Hodgson said Monday. "[Monterroso] revved it and revved it, backed up and then squealed the wheels and was hauling. He was going so fast and he disappeared and the apartment shook. Our first thought was, 'This is going to hurt' because we thought we were going to go down."

Hodgson said her son was awakened by the crash and ran downstairs to help Schmeits, turning the truck off.

Police said Monterroso ran from the scene to get help but returned shortly after police arrived. Paramedics said that Schmeits was air lifted to Shock Trauma in Baltimore by a Maryland State Police Medevac and listed in stable condition. Monterroso was not injured.

According to Hodgson, Monterroso is an employee of the apartment complex and had been painting the outside of the building since Friday.

"From our perspective, [Monterroso] knew [Schmeits]," Hodgson said. "The scary part is she had to have seen him, but she couldn't do anything. At some point, he had to have seen her because the curtain was open ... I understand panic and I feel for him, but, in your mind, you drove here and parked and you're saying you got the [gears] mixed up and he was going so fast. At what point do you not take your foot off [the gas]?"

Police said Monterroso was arrested and charged with driving without a license, negligent driving, and failure to control a vehicle in order to avoid collision.

The investigation is ongoing.

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