Cement truck slams into Bronx house, driver killed

Jim Dolan reports from University Heights.
January 20, 2014 8:31:05 PM PST
A truck driver was killed and five other people injured when a cement truck slammed into a home in the University Heights section of the Bronx Monday night.

The 80,000 pound truck slammed into the house on Cedar Avenue in University Heights with so much force, it pushed the building right off its foundation, and bricks rained down, as the cab of the truck was swallowed by the house. It happened around 6:20 p.m. on Monday.

"They were all around, the kids were playing, they heard the bang and my sister was like, 'come, come, let's go,' and they ran to the back because they knew something hit inside the house," said Malika Hinds, the victim's sister.

Malika Hinds lives in the house, but was out when it happened. Her sister called her from inside.

"She called 911, then they called me because she was like, 'Where are you, where are you? A truck just hit the house. I'm stuck in the house. I don't know what to do,'" Hinds said.

A massive response by the FDNY followed. Some victims were taken out windows in the back but they brought in dogs in the search for bodies. Witnesses say the truck came off the Major Deegan and it looked like the driver had no control.

"He was going very fast, he was honking his horn going real, real fast. He went straight into the building and I heard the boom," said Louis Verdajo, an eyewitness.

Rita lives right next door.

"At first, I thought it was a bomb, like bam, like boom, like some kind of huge noise I've never heard in my life so I thought it was a bomb, but I had to secure my kids first and then run out," said Rita Lehnso, a neighbor.

"It wasn't really the sound, it was more like a feeling, like a vibration, and then I jumped up to the window and that's when I heard the crashes," another witness said.

As their home started to collapse around the truck.

Eyewitness News showed Malika video of it, because she couldn't get close enough to see. She says her sister and the children are safe, but traumatized.

"They're shocked, my two nephews are just crying, my sister is shocked. She's like, 'How could a truck go through the house?' She just keeps saying that over and over again," Hinds said.

The driver was pronounced dead at the scene. Two people were seriously injured, while three others sustained minor injuries, including one firefighter. All are being treated at Bronx Lebanon Hospital.

The driver's identity has not yet been released. The cause of the accident is under investigation.