A Larne couple have said they are thankful no one was killed after a car ploughed into the living room of their house while they were asleep upstairs.
Ross and Liz McCormick were awoken by a loud bang at about 4.40am on Sunday, November 22, and when they looked out the window they were shocked to discover a car lodged in the front of their house.
With they ran downstairs to investigate, they were faced with a scene of carnage.
“The front of the car was inside our living room. The driver had already ran off, but the engine was still running and diesel was leaking out,” Ross told the Times.
The 72-year-old ex-electrician was forced to climb into the vehicle and turn off the ignition. The police and fire service were alerted and arrived on the scene in a matter of minutes.
“It looks like the car came down Lindara, lost control and careered through our hedge before smashing into the house,” Ross said.
The couple have now been left counting the cost of the damage to their Linn Road home, which Ross believes could amount to £15,000.
“Virtually everything in the room was destroyed, including all our furniture and our TV,” he added. “It looks as though a bomb went off.
“But buildings can be repaired and the important thing is that no one was hurt or killed. Liz would sometimes come downstairs in the early hours and could have been in that room at the time. It doesn’t bear thinking about. We had a lucky escape.
“I want to pay tribute to the emergency services for their speedy response; they were a tremendous help. We have also had a lot of messages of support from our family and friends, even from as far away as Australia.”
The freak accident has left Liz, 66, unable to sleep for fear that it could happen again.
“Our bedroom is directly above the living room, but we have been advised to sleep in the back bedroom until the repair work is completed,” Ross said.
“But it is hard to get back into a normal sleep pattern after something like this. Liz is having to take sleeping tablets.”
The pensioners, who have three great-grandchildren, have lived in the property since 2001.
Ross added: “We have carried out a lot of work to the house and have just got it looking the way we wanted it. Thankfully it doesn’t appear there has been any structural damage caused.”
Ross and Liz are currently living in their extension at the side of the property, and are hopeful the living room can be repaired in time for Christmas.
“I will be erecting a reinforced wall at the front of the house to prevent something like this from happening again,” Ross concluded.
Police arrested a 41-year-old man in the Walnut area of Larne in connection with the crash on Sunday. He was further arrested following the discovery of a number of suspected cannabis plants in the premises.
Chief Inspector Stephen McCauley said: “He was subsequently charged with cultivating cannabis and dishonestly using electricity.
“He is due to appear at Ballymena Magistrates’ Court on Thursday, 17 December.”
As is normal procedure all charges will be reviewed by the Public Prosecution Service.