Driver hits Anchorage house, then flees scene

Posted: Thursday, November 27, 2008

ANCHORAGE - This is no ordinary hit and run report.

First the driver hit a house, then took off. But this house had been struck by another driver just 13 months ago.

It's left homeowner James LaBelle stunned.

"Our first thought was that it was an earthquake," LaBelle said. "Then we go, this is a little too familiar for us."

LaBelle owns the split level home where he and his wife and three children live.

No one appears to have been hurt in either accident, but the driver of the second crash hasn't been found.

The first incident occurred Halloween morning last year. After the second crash happened, memories of the first surfaced.

"That one was more like an explosion," LaBelle said. "It was kind of like a bomb went off in the front of our house. We had all kinds of debris: glass and insulation, dry wall particles, door frames splintered. Glass everywhere. It was a really big mess.

"The first one - I think the driver had cleared the crest of that hill coming towards our house and realized there was a stop sign there," he said. "What actually woke us up was the screeching tires coming down the hill."

Police caught the first driver, a woman driving a Dodge pickup drunk and causing as much as $18,000 damage to the house.

It helped that LaBelle got a look at the truck when it left the area and that "bits and pieces of her truck" were strewn in the front yard.

But on Tuesday, LaBelle could not assist the police with any kind of description, so that driver remains at-large.

Meanwhile, the crash removed half of the garage door, trapping LaBelle's car inside, and damaged a corner of the house. LaBelle said it's not as bad as the first crash.

"As soon as we heard it, we jumped out of bed," LaBelle said. "It was gone by the time we got down the stairs. You could see the tire tracks. Their brakes locked up. They tried to swerve to the right. They caught the outside corner of the house and the garage this time."

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