WATERLOO – Residents escaped injury after a car fleeing from police plowed into their Waterloo home, sparking a gas leak and a fire Tuesday afternoon.
Authorities briefly evacuated the area after the collision knocked the furnace across the basement of 2312 Lafayette St., breaking a natural gas pipe and igniting a small fire in the home’s electrical panel, said Battalion Chief Martin Freshwater with Waterloo Fire Rescue.
No one inside the house was injured, and the driver appeared dazed from the impact but wasn’t seriously injured. He was detained by police.
Crews were able to stem the gas leak from the outside, he said.
Authorities have identified the driver as 24-year-old Montavis Trell Keller of Waterloo. Charges are pending.
The chase started in the downtown area and involved the fleeing vehicle cutting through lawns and driving against traffic, police said. It looped to the east near Evansdale and returned into Waterloo westbound on Lafayette.
Officers attempted to use Stop Sticks and used the anti-tire device shortly before the car lost control.
The officer “threw it out there, and he swerved all the way and crash, right into their house head on,” said neighbor Donna Barber, who used to live at the house and watched the end of the chase. “It was pretty exciting, like Fast and Furious.”
Witnesses said a school bus was heading in the opposite direction and passed the fleeing vehicle just before the crash.
The car entered the home’s foundation, stopping just short of the passenger compartment. People were inside the house and were evacuated by authorities.
Because of structural concerns, the car wasn’t removed from the house, Freshwater said.