Raleigh family begs for relief after a half-dozen cars slam into their home

(Courtesy: WNCN)
(Courtesy: WNCN)

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — A family is pleading for help as cars keep running off the road and crashing into their home.

The problem has existed for more than a decade at the intersection of New Hope Road and Fawn Glen Drive.

Since the Bernarte family moved into their house near the intersection in 2004, drivers have crashed into it six times. The first crash came in 2007, then 2008, then 2013 and once a year since.

The worst crash sent debris all the way up to the second floor of the home, said Carlo Bernarte.

“It decimated almost 50 percent of the house,” he said.

Another time, a stop sign came flying through the window.

“It ricocheted, man. So, it missed my daughter about this much,” Bernarte said.

After the first five crashes, Bernarte spent $3,000 on windows meant to withstand a hurricane. But in August, a sixth vehicle came crashing in.

Through all the mayhem, none of the family has been injured. Still, Bernarte said, there’s a mental toll to living in a place where thousands of pounds of metal keep slamming into the house.

The city has installed light-up signs along the curve approaching the intersection, but engineers say most of the crashes happen because drivers are speeding or drunk. Officials report that one of the incoming vehicles was going 120 mph.

Bernarte has installed blue lights on his porch; he hopes it will fool drivers into thinking there are police lights in the area and prompt them to slow down.

Now, engineers are proposing closing the entrance to Fawn Glen Drive, allowing the guard rail to run all the way along that section of New Hope.

“We as a city and the Department of Transportation like to only explore (that) as a last option because it does impact people’s commute times,” said Jed Niffenegger, a senior transportation engineer with the City of Raleigh.

Some neighbors said they aren’t convinced the proposed change would be effective.

Chris Redshaw started a petition urging the city or state to simply buy the Bernartes’ home from them.

“This family has had four people die on their front porch,” he said. “This family has to live with that.”

But engineers say their focus is on making the road safer.

Bernarte wonders if that can be done.

“Why did I put my family in this situation?” he asked.