By Katy Savage
LUDLOW—It felt like an earthquake or a hurricane and sounded like dominoes falling down on top of each other. All they could see was a cloud of dust.
“The entire house was shaking, the walls and ceiling were caving in,” said Leone Powers.
A truck carrying wood pallets crashed into the house on Route 100 at a speed of about 50 miles per hour Tuesday afternoon, July 31, Ludlow Police Chief Jeff Billings said.
The truck driver sustained a concussion while Powers’ eldest child Katelin, 19, had a broken wrist and and a cut under her eye.
The cause of the accident is still under investigation.
This was the third accident on that hill in the last 15 years, Billings said. A log truck destroyed a home around 2003 and another truck crashed into a home in 2008.
The steep road requires a truck to use brakes, said Billings. If a driver doesn’t know the road, “their full loads can lose their brakes pretty quickly,” he said.
Route 100 is maintained by the state. Ludlow Town Manager Scott Murphy plans to send a letter to the Agency of Transportation, urging them to put more safety signs. “We’d like to see some higher level of warning,” Murphy said.
There’s a warning sign at the top of the hill, informing truck drivers of the steep grade, he said, but nothing at the middle and bottom steep section of the hill.
The speed limit on Route 100 drops from 55 miles per hour to 40 to 25 as it enters the residential neighborhood where the accidents had occurred.
“Trucks at that point have lost their brakingpower,” Murphy said.
The front half of the home is demolished. Half of the family’s new Nissan Rouge Sport they purchased in June is gone.
The Powers family is still in shock.
The entire family was home and they were planning to go to Maine on Wednesday for vacation, the day after the accident.
Jessie, 17, and Colline, 12, were upstairs. Jesse was playing video games in his room while Colline was playing with toy horses in her room.
Katelin was on the couch reading a book beside her father and mother. Her mother had just gotten up to use the bathroom when the tractor trailer went through their home.
Katetlin was thrown about 6 feet in the air, landing on the other side of the couch beside her father.
The other children were trapped upstairs and she was trapped on another side of the house, unable to get to them, Leone said.
“As a mother, wife and nurse it was the worst feeling in the world not being able to help,” Leone said.
Jessie and Colline had no injuries while Leone and her husband Larry had minor bruises.
“They were covered in wall particles and debris,” Leone said of her children.
The family isn’t sure how many of their belongings are salvageable. They had rented the house from owner Aaron McCarthy for the past four years.
Larry Powers said he had heard about the accidents on Route 100 in the past.
“Someone mentioned it about two years after we moved in but they were laughing and I didn’t believe them,” he said.
Meanwhile, they’re renting another home in the area.
Photo by Karen Freeman
A home on Andover Street in Ludlow was demolished by a tractor trailer July 31.