Family calls for change after car plows into their west side home

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The Harris family was getting ready for dinner on Friday night when a car turned their home into rooms full of debris.

That’s because it plowed through their front door on the 6600 block of Doris Drive.

They said they feel lucky to be alive and they are now afraid to move back home.

The Harris family said this isn’t the first time something like this has happened, and they are tired of living in fear.

They’re afraid another speeding car will destroy their home and potentially take a life. 

“The house just caved in; there was smoke; there was gas fumes,” said LaTonya Harris, the homeowner.  

The car knocked over their 16-year-old son, who escaped with minor injuries. The rest of the Harris family was unharmed.

“It was only God spared us,” said Stephen Harris, LaTonya’s husband.

But the accidents are getting worse. The Harris family said in the last five years, three cars have struck their home.

“Every time you close your eyes, every time you think about a sound, you’re in fear of what’s going to happen,” said LaTonya.

There are two 300-pound boulders on the edge of the yard to stop speeding cars from hitting their home.

“This stop sign has no value,” said Stephen, referring to the stop sign directly across from their home’s front yard.

Friday’s crash caused one boulder to shoot through an outside wall of the home, landing on the family’s stove. 

“What causes you to drive that fast? I don’t know. It’s a residential area,” said LaTonya.

The Harris family wants to move, but they’re wary of selling their home.

“I don’t want someone to die here, and that’s what’s going to happen,” said LaTonya.

It’s been hard getting help.

“We asked the insurance company, ‘Can we get some help?’ And that’s a personal matter. That doesn’t have anything to do with insurance company,” said LaTonya.  

So how can this dangerous street be fixed?

The city has on its website a form called the Street Change Policy Procedure.

A resident has to print it out and talk to nearby households. You need signatures from 75 percent of the property owners that would be affected by the request for the city to study changes.

Though it’s a city issue, J.D. Ford, a State Senate candidate, knocked on doors to get that petition signed, after seeing a 24-Hour News 8 report from the scene Friday night on our Facebook page.

“As a candidate, you have the ability to effect the change,” he said.

Suggestions include speed bumps or a fence by the Harris home, because the community doesn’t want there to be a next crash.

City-County Councilor Marilyn Pfisterer, who represents this area, said there definitely needs to be improvement. She asked the Department of Public Works to make recommendations but also wants residents to give their feedback.

The driver of the crashed car, Fausto Martel, was arrested for driving while intoxicated, leaving the scene of a crash and not having a driver’s license.

Online records show he remained in the Marion County Jail on Saturday night.