Police: Drunk driver crashes into LaGrange house, shears off porch

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LAGRANGE, Ohio-- LaGrange police say a car traveling at a high rate of speed careened out of control early Sunday morning, tearing off the front porch of a home and driving the debris into the neighboring LaGrange Township Hall before coming to a stop.

Former ER nurse Julie Carpenter was asleep on the second floor of the home when she was awakened by the sound of the impact.

“I just heard the most horrific crash and my bed, flew away from the wall because my bed is right up top. And I sat up and said, `Oh my God, a car just hit our house,’” Carpenter said.

Investigators said the crash was set into motion when the driver flew across a rail crossing, lost control, smashed into a utility pole and then slid across two yards before shearing off the porch. The car narrowly missing a bedroom, where Julie Carpenter's step son, U.S. Marine David Carpenter, was asleep in his bed.

“His head is right there, right by that window and he was just within a few feet of where the tracks went. And that`s why every time I look back, it just really got me, very upset,” Carpenter said. “'You know, he could have been gone. This could have been so much different, you know, any of my kids could have been downstairs.”

When police approached the driver of the car, 23-year-old Michael Aliff Jr., of Vermilion, they were surprised that he did not have a scratch on him, but they were not surprised when Aliff admitted that he had been drinking before the accident.

“I said, 'You know this could have been something that was way worse,’ and the fact that nobody was injured and he walked away from that incident. I mean, if the vehicle would have come in a sharper angle or if it would have protruded through the house, it very well could have injured or possibly killed somebody that night," said LaGrange Patrolman Matthew Morel.

Carpenter and her family are grateful that no one was hurt, and they are sharing their story in the hope that it will send a message to anyone who find themself in the same condition that Aliff Jr. was in early Sunday morning.

“Don`t drink and drive, you know, it`s not just your life that you`re taking into your own hands, it`s everybody else`s. I mean, a multitude of things could have happened any certain way and changed the whole outcome of this. Anybody in my family could have been dead, the people next door and obviously the driver,” she said.

Aliff Jr. is now facing charges that include OVI and failure to control. He was released from the Lorain County Jail after posting bond.

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