Johnson City to install guardrail on street where car hit home

Gary B. Gray • Jul 31, 2013 at 9:55 AM

About one week after a woman charged with drunken driving veered off Hamilton Street and crashed into a home, Johnson City’s Public Works Department Director Phil Pindzola said guardrails will be installed at and near the residence in an effort to improve safety at the site.

On Thursday, an 8-month-old child’s life was narrowly spared when a vehicle driven by Jonesborough resident Jessica A. Myers, 21, crashed into a family’s bedroom at 510 Hamilton St. Myers had been drinking and hit a curb twice before her green 2007 Chevrolet HHR left the roadway, went over the sidewalk and crashed into the left side of the home, according to a police report.

Property owners Debi Posadas, who is the mother of Shaunda Swartz who lives in the house with her family, and Ronnie Peters said they now fear the house will need to be torn down. Posadas said city officials ignored requests for a guardrail prior to the incident.

The home is positioned at the crux of a curb on the newly added stretch of University Parkway connecting West State of Franklin Road to West Market Street. Posadas and Swartz said they are disappointed that something had to happen before action on putting up a guardrail is possibly or finally taken seriously.

“I’m not sure I’ve seen a work order on that,” Pindzola said Tuesday. “I’m not refuting that they called. Nevertheless, we are putting up a guardrail in the wake of the issue that arose there. The way it was designed did not meet the criteria for a guardrail. I don’t know the exact dimensions, but it will tie to their driveway, wrap around the corner and continue for about 50 feet.”

Before she was taken to Johnson City Medical Center, Myers was trapped inside the vehicle with an incapacitating injury and had to be extricated, according to the report.

Swartz and her young son, Daniel, were inside the home when Myers’ car barreled into the home, knocking it off its foundation. The child was thrown across a bedroom and into a dresser. Swartz said she had placed him on her bed to feed him 20 minutes prior to the crash instead of leaving him in his crib.

Her husband, Garrick Swartz, was watching a movie in the living room. But other than a knot on Daniel’s head, no one inside the home suffered serious injuries.

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