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Stolen vehicle crashes into home, sending woman flying across the room

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Posted at 10:10 AM, Jul 22, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-22 17:19:46-04

PINELLAS PARK, Fla. — Pinellas Park Police are looking for the driver of a van that smashed into a home early Friday morning.

According to police, a white Kia van was seen swerving across lanes of traffic without headlights around 5:30 a.m. Friday. Police stopped the van on 70th Avenue. Once the officer walked toward the car, the driver hit the gas and went east on 70th Avenue.

A few minutes later, police said the Kia van crashed into an occupied single-family home near 70th Avenue and 61st Street North.

Diane Al feels lucky to be alive. She was sleeping in her bedroom when the van slammed right into her bed. The force was enough to cause both her and her bed to be thrown to the other side of the room. Yet, she didn't get a single scratch or bruise. “I was still in the bed so i was okay but I was like what the heck happened?” she wondered.

In the dark, she could barely make out the vehicle and called to her son, Dan Throop, for help.

By the time Dan and his girlfriend got across the house, the driver was gone. “Both the front doors of the van were closed. They must have had to climb through the back. They were probably hurt after that. That was a big accident," he added.

The impact also destroyed the family's kitchen and the flooring and windows they just had installed by contractors less than a week ago. “It’s terrible. I feel like somebody blew up my home," Al added.

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Structural damage to the home is bad enough to force the family out. They will be staying with relatives for now.

Police said they later discovered the KIA van had been stolen from another home in Pinellas Park Thursday night. That driver told officers he was certain that he locked the car and he was still in possession of both of his van's key fobs.

“There’s no remorse. This person could have killed people inside of a home and instead of stopping to say I messed up like a coward they took off and they ran," explained Pinellas Park Police Captain Adam Geissenberger.

Officers are still looking for the driver and hoping DNA left in the van or surveillance video will lead to an arrest. The family's home is directly across the street from the Nina Harris School for Exceptional Student Education.