Neighbors step up after car crashes into home in Port Charlotte, leaves man pinned under fridge

Published: April 17, 2021 11:00 PM EDT
Updated: April 19, 2021 6:11 AM EDT

An SUV crashed into a Port Charlotte home on Saturday, leaving an 89-year-old man pinned under his fridge.

It happened at about 7 p.m. on Saturday along Easy Street.

The tan SUV managed to hit a parked car and a palm tree as it was traveling down Easy Street, towards Croton Terrace. Then, the SUV hit a traffic control sign.

The vehicle traveled through half the house before stopping in the kitchen. One of the homeowners had his fridge fall on him as a result of the crash, leaving him pinned.

Neighbors, including a Punta Gorda firefighter, were able to lift the fridge off of him before Charlotte County Fire and EMS arrived.

Todd Dunn is the public information officer for Charlotte County Fire and EMS. “The neighbors were instrumental and this guy’s safety, they didn’t stand around just watching, they jumped into action and got in there before we arrived, and help get their refrigerator up off the man,” Dunn said.

The 60-year-old driver of the SUV also hit a car parked in the couples’ garage.

The man was flown to Lee Memorial with a broken ankle. His wife was also home at the time but was not injured.

The family is just happy that these parents survived.

Virginia Flaherty is one of the neighbors and she said she could hear it. “‘ERRR, BOOM!’ sound like a big bomb or something that gone off,” Flaherty said.

Jean Clark saw it. “I thought it was smoke. And it turned out it was cement dust,” Clark said.

Norb and Elaine, the homeowners are almost 90-years-old were home at the time.

“As soon as I approached the side of the house, I could hear Norb saying, ‘I’m in here,'” Clark said.

“Like milliseconds, right before that truck hit, he had a steak on the grill, came around and was grabbing something out of the fridge,” said Flaherty.

“At least 30 of us around here. You know, my husband and three of the guys were in there digging through the rubble trying to get the homeowner out,” said Flaherty.

“As soon as I approached the side of the house, I could hear Norb saying, ‘I’m in here.’ And she just latched right on to me and said, ‘I’m so glad you’re here. I’m so glad to see you.,” said Clark.

Norb is hurt badly but he will be okay.

These neighbors are worried about Easy Street, but tonight they are thankful their friends are alive.

The driver of the SUV also offered serious injuries and was taken to a hospital.

The building department has deemed the home unsafe and the Red Cross is helping the couple find a place to stay.

The Florida Highway Patrol said the investigation continues and charges are pending.