Judy and Herb Carson were cooking a late dinner last Saturday night when a car flew into their kitchen and living room.
Just after 10 p.m., a red sedan speeding down Lazulite Drive hit a snowbank, became airborne for about 10 metres and smashed through the walls of their home, demolishing it.
Judy was watching television. Herb was peeling potatoes.
Amid clouds of Gyproc dust, the car came to rest between them. Neither was seriously hurt.
“I’m a pretty good housekeeper, it’s not usually like this,” says Judy, a 66-year-old Yukon government employee, standing amid the wreckage and destroyed belongings and keepsakes.
The kitchen, where Herb was tossed against the island counter top, is a disaster.
The stove sits in the middle of the kitchen floor. Its glass window is smashed, its elements are mangled, and dinner is somewhere on the ground.
“Watch out, there’s some hamburger under there,” said Judy, pointing to the pile of utensils, drywall, coffee grinds and broken cooking appliances strewn across the floor.
The car drove through the wall separating the kitchen and the living room. Everything in the vicinity of the wall has been pushed away—a few studs from the wall still dangle from the ceiling.
Just seconds before the car hit the house, both Herb and Judy shifted position in the kitchen and living room, respectively.
Herb has an annoying habit of leaning against the sink and staring out the kitchen window, said Judy.
“It bothers me because I’m always wondering what he’s staring at,” she said.
But that habit saved his life.
“If Herb had been near the stove, he would have been gone,” said Judy.
A similar annoyance saved Judy’s life.
She was watching one of her favourite shows, 48 Hours, in the adjacent living room.
Then, out of the blue, she got up from the television chair and checked her e-mail.
“Herb hates it when I do that,” said Judy, noting he believes it isolates them – Judy winds up in the living room and Herb in the kitchen, neither talking.
“I had no reason to check it on a Saturday night,” she said. “I don’t know why I did it.”
She sat down at the computer chair, just a few feet from the television, and saw a bright flash from the window.
Herb, staring out his window, saw a bright flash too.
The car smashed through a stone wall and pushed the ceiling-high television stand onto the chair in front of it.
On the other side of the wall, the stove, the counter top and the cupboards came flying towards Herb.
“All there was was a roar from the engine,” said Judy.
She yelled for her husband, who got up from the other side of the car with his shirt soaked.
“I thought it was blood,” said Judy.
But it was water gushing from the busted sink.
Judy told the driver to turn off the engine.
“He was in total shock – he didn’t know where he was,” she said.
The driver couldn’t get out. A stud was keeping his door shut.
He tried to get out a window, but Judy told him to stay.
She went to the neighbours’ house. The firefighters, police and ambulance soon arrived. They dragged the car out from the wall that same night.
“There was only this much of it (the car) left outside,” said Judy, setting her hands apart by a foot.
Now, there’s several planks of plywood covering the wreckage of her house.
“There were no tracks before they dragged it out,” said Judy, pointing to the skidmarks on her lawn.
The car came careening down Lazulite Drive before hitting the Carson’s home.
It left the road in front of Copper Ridge Place, a seniors’ home.
After nearly missing a transformer box, the car crossed Diamond Way and hit the snowbank on the edge of the Carsons’ property.
Police are still investigating and haven’t laid charges against the unidentified driver, said RCMP spokesperson Sgt. Tom Wyers.
Alcohol was not a factor in the accident.
The 46-year-old driver, who was not injured in the crash, visited the Carson’s on Sunday.
“I wanted to show him what he did,” said Judy.
Her sister’s urn, which no longer carries the ashes, was destroyed in the accident.
“I don’t even want to look under there yet,” she said, staring at the rubble in front of the television stand.
The stereo, DVD player and other electronics are jumbled up with drywall and smashed glass.
“Maybe it was her who told me to move,” she said.
The only thing on the television stand that didn’t break was a photo of her parents, now deceased, from the 1970s.
The couple, who were from Alberta, are dressed in Victorian outfits from a Klondike Rendezvous in Edmonton.
“My mother made the dress,” said Judy. “Maybe it was them who told me.”
The insurance adjuster came to see the damage on Monday.
“When he locked it in, he was flabbergasted,” said Judy.
He was coming again on Tuesday to finish the job.
Judy is still visibly shaken by the incident.
“I wake up crying; when I hear my voice I cry,” she said.
Herb is going alright, she said, despite being thrown against the island counter.
The Carsons have lived in the home since 2002.
They’re staying at a vacant friend’s place for a few weeks, and then they’ll juggle between hotels and other friends until the cleanup is done.
It will take months to rebuild, the insurance adjuster tells them.
On the night before, the Carsons had guests over.
Hanging out in the kitchen, one of them would have surely died if they had rescheduled their plans, said Judy.
After the friends left on Friday, Judy told Herb what she got him for Christmas.
Both are fans of the psychic medium show Crossing Over with John Edward.
Judy bought two tickets for a live show in Las Vegas next March.
“I don’t know if people think it’s a gimmick, but we like it,” said Judy.
They’re still going to make the trip, she said. Once the shock has worn off and the destruction’s been cleaned up.
“I think I need to ask John Edward about this,” she said.
Contact James Munson at