Driver slams into St. Peterburg home as family sleeps inside

Driver's mother shows up to apologize to family
Posted at 11:08 AM, Jun 11, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-12 02:52:12-04

 A driver slams into a St. Petersburg home as a family is sleeping inside Saturday morning.

The driver was led off the property in handcuffs.

Shortly afterward the driver's mother shows up at the family's doorstep to apologize on her daughter's behalf.

The Stancil family felt blessed to be alive Saturday morning.

The master bedroom was in shambles, but the bed was practically untouched after a driver identified by police as Elaine A. Ribiero rammed the minivan she was driving into the exterior wall of the house in the 3800 block of 17th Avenue North in St. Petersburg Saturday morning.

It looked like a twister hit the bedroom. Concrete blocks, books and valuables shattered across the Stancils' home. Despite the mess, there is a sense of gratitude.

"It's just miraculous, honestly miraculous," said John Stancil, who was asleep in the master bedroom at the time of the crash. "Three feet to the left and we are dead."

Police arrested Ribeiro on a charge of driving under the influence.

"It's the weirdest thing in the world,' said Stancil, who also is  pastor of Community Bible Baptist Church across the street from his home. "You try to process what's going on. You're not sure if you are dreaming." 

The camera of an ABC Action News crew was rolling when Ribeiro's mother went to the Stancils' home and apologized for what her daughter had done. 

The woman told Stancil her daughter has been in a downward spiral for the past three months since the death of Ribeiro's 18-year-old daughter in an alcohol-related traffic crash..

"Listen you tell her to get some help and come see us at the church," Stancil told the woman. "God bless you, sweetie."

The pastor runs a substance abuse program at his church. He offered to help Ribeiro.

"This is a consequence of a bad decision, but I'm just thankful we are all good and want to help her if we could," Stancil said.

An understanding that things are more than they appear, if we just listen.