SUV Slams into House, Mystery Driver Flees Burning Wreckage

Lawn Ornament Apparently Used to Accelerate Vehicle

Yahoo Contributor Network

A home in Springfield, Mo., was burned when an SUV slammed into the dwelling's garage around 9 p.m. Tuesday night near Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World. The scene was a mystery as no witnesses saw the driver of the vehicle who apparently was able to flee from the scene undetected, according to KYTV. Fire crews report the garage suffered smoke damage. Police are looking for a suspect that might have stolen the SUV before ramming into the house. The couple who lives inside wasn't hurt.

* Homeowner Anna Vanbuskirk and her boyfriend heard a loud bang around 9 p.m. She told KYTV the morning after the fire the couple grabbed a water hose to try to contain the fire.

* Authorities searched inside the vehicle, in the garage and the surrounding neighborhood after the crash and fire were called into a 911 dispatcher. No one was found.

* Investigators told Vanbuskirk a lawn ornament kept the accelerator depressed as the vehicle moved forward. The property owner believes it was a cement statue of a little girl. Both the SUV and statue were not familiar to Vanbuskirk.

* The homeowner told KYTV she doesn't have insurance and doesn't know when she will be able to move back into her childhood home. Vanbuskirk moved into the house 10 years ago after moving away.

* The vehicle was registered to a town several hours away, according to the Springfield News-Leader. The car was not reported as stolen when authorities began the initial investigation. The incident is being investigated as a house fire and leaving the scene of an accident.

* Springfield Fire Department Battalion Chief David Scheiderer told the News-Leader, "It's a strange set of events." The silver Jeep SUV was charred as it set in the driveway after fire crews put out the vehicle fire at 226 W. McGee St., which sits less than a block away from the iconic Bass Pro Shops world headquarters. There would have been plenty of traffic on Campbell Ave. near Sunshine St., one of the busiest intersections in the city.

* Authorities aren't saying much because the fire is still under investigation. Detectives aren't sure if the wreck and fire were accidents or intentional.

* KOLR states the couple is being helped by the American Red Cross for basic necessities. The charity provided a hotel room for a few nights.

* Vanbuskirk got out of the house in just her bathrobe as flames spread to the kitchen before being doused. She told KOLR all she can do is "start over" as everything she owned was inside the home.

William Browning, a lifelong Missouri resident, writes about local and state issues for the Yahoo! Contributor Network. Born in St. Louis, Browning earned his bachelor's degree in English from the University of Missouri. He currently resides in Branson.

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