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Truck crashes into house in Upperco

A commercial truck crashed into a house in the 15400 block of Hanover Pike (Md. 30) near Emory Road.

It wasn't unusual for vehicles to strike Christi Norris' childhood home on Md. 30 in Upperco when she was growing up.

"It always seemed to happen at night," said Norris, who spent the first 21 years of her life in the home, which is situated close to the major roadway, on Thursday.

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"By the time we were teenagers, we would actually sleep through it."

But a box truck that struck the now-vacant house Thursday, might have been the last, causing damage that could lead to the demolition of the house. Baltimore County building inspectors who were called to the scene will ultimately make a decision on the future of the structure, something that had not been decided by 6:30 Thursday evening.

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Two men were taken the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center with injuries that were considered serious but not life-threatening after a large commercial box truck ran into a house in the 15400 block of Hanover Pike near Emory Road, according to Elise Armacost, a spokeswoman with Baltimore County Police. One of the patients was the driver of the truck; the other was the driver of another vehicle, a red Honda Prelude, that was involved in the crash. The names of the two drivers were not released.

Investigators from the Baltimore County Police Crash Team are trying to determine whether the box truck and the Honda collided first or whether the truck first drove into the house then struck the car, Armacost said.

"The car and truck collided at some point," she said. "The investigation will tell us [what happened]."

Crews were able to free the drivers of both vehicles within minutes of the initial dispatch call at 10:06 a.m. Thursday. The truck driver was removed at 10:27 a.m.; the driver of the car was freed at 10:33 a.m., according to Baltimore County Police.

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Md. 30 was shut down in both directions for several hours, even after the truck was removed from the house just before 1 p.m.

Baltimore County Fire Department's Urban Search and Rescue Team was sent to the scene to shore up the structure to prevent any immediate collapse, but she had not yet received any reports on the extent of that work, Armacost said.

"The building inspectors went out and had marked the home unsafe. Right now it is prohibited for anyone to occupy or to be in that home," Armacost said. "Our purpose is not to shore it up to make it safe to inhabit; it is to shore it up to keep from creating a dangerous situation. Remember, this house is right on the street."

Over the years Norris lived there, from her birth in 1971 until shortly after her grandfather died and the family moved in 1992, she said there were several crashes.

"Most of them were smaller calls, I can't even remember a pickup truck hitting it," said Norris, who now lives in Jarrettsville.

On Thursday, she recalled family stories of a crash that occurred a few years before she was born, when a motorcyclist crashed and the bike slid under the wooden wrap-around porch. The porch had to be torn off the house to get the motorcycle. Norris' grandfather Ivan Schultz, not wanting to have to rebuild the porch if it happened again, had a cement slab porch poured instead.

Unfortunately, Norris said, because of the height of the concrete porch, most of the motorists who crashed in later years didn't survive. She was relieved when she saw a box truck had struck it and the driver was a bit higher and that injuries were reported as non-life-threatening.

Norris said family had told her the house was originally a barn but was turned into a dwelling when the road was built through the area. At some point, it served as a toll house, something that Armacost — the Baltimore County Police spokeswoman who grew up in the area and lived there for more than 50 years — also remembered. Armacost also said she recalled numerous crashes at the house.

Norris recalled raising chickens with her grandfather there and less happy memories such as being awoken by fire engines and watching Sportsman's Hall roller rink burning down across the street.

She laughed when she mentioned the large pine tree closest to the house.

"That was our Christmas tree when I was 12," Norris said. "We got one of those bulb trees, and after Christmas, my grandfather said, 'Now what are we going to do with this?' I said let's plant it in the yard and see how big it grows."

While she hasn't lived in the house for more than 20 years, Norris was saddened to think the house might have to be demolished after the latest crash.

"The house meant a lot to me," she said, through tears. "This might sound silly, but as long as that house was there, I felt like I had roots somewhere."

Reach staff writer S. Wayne Carter Jr. at 410-857-7879 or email wayne.carter@carrollcountytimes.com.

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