KHYNNA KUPRIAN, Staff Writer
BENNINGTON -- David and Marian Wohlsen were both asleep at their 259 Union St. home early Tuesday morning when they were woken up by "a terrible noise."
An 18-year-old Pownal man, Marcien L. Roy, had crashed his 2004 GMC Yukon into the front of both their home and the home of their neighbor, Paula Mitchinson, of 257 Union St.
"At about 1 o'clock the whole house shook and we heard just a terrible noise," said Marian.
At approximately 1:15 a.m., Bennington Police and the Bennington Fire Department responded to the scene, where they found the vehicle suspended above the ground with the front end in the Mitchinson home and the rear of the truck still partly inside the destroyed front porch of the Wohlsens'.
According to a report from BPD Lt. Lloyd Dean, Roy was traveling south when he failed to stop for the stop sign at the sharp curve and lost control of his vehicle. After being unable to regain control due to his speed, Roy drove off the left side of the road and hit the concrete curb, then continued forward and struck a rock which caused the vehicle to become airborne and vault through the porch of the first home and into the corner of the second home.
Roy, who admitted to smoking marijuana and consuming mushrooms prior to the crash, was removed from his vehicle with very minor injuries, according to Lt. Dean, despite several spears of wood protruding through the windshield into the driver's seat area.
The Wohlsens, who have resided at their Union St. home for the past 36 years, were assisted by The Red Cross and given temporary housing after their home was declared unfit for occupancy by the town code enforcement officer.
The Bennington Fire Department, on the scene as a fire prevention measure, erected metal support posts in an attempt to ensure building safety.
As of Tuesday afternoon, the Wohlsens had both returned to their residence. "We're living in the back, safe part of the house," said Marian. "We're glad to be home."
Mr. and Mrs. Wohlsen do not have family in the area, and must wait for insurance to appraise the damage before they can take steps to clean or rebuild. They said the living room, front entrance and office were all destroyed.
"There is a big hole in the front part of our house," said David, who initially thought the sound they heard was their generator, which was sitting on the front porch at the time of the accident. "Later we realized it was the engine of the vehicle, it was still running."
A dog and two cats were at home at the time of the accident, and another cat was ready to return home from the veterinarian that morning, after having an operation. "Now we have to board them," said Marian, who never spoke directly with Roy and praised law enforcement for their handling of the accident.
Although they "came through it all right physically," the couple said there have been close calls over the years near the home. "This person we were told was going about 55 miles per hour," said David. "We fought to get stop signs put in there, we have a lot of children in the area, but an awful lot of people just don't stop."
Roy was processed at the Bennington Police Department for impaired driving, and was examined by Sgt. Jesse Robson, a drug recognition expert for the Vermont State Police. He was released with a citation to appear in Bennington Superior Court Criminal Division for driving under the influence and negligent operation. According to Lt. Dean, Roy was released to his uncle. The Roy family could not be reached for comment.
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