Runaway car smashed into their home

A black Audi A3 went into a house on  Summerfield Road, Todmorden
A black Audi A3 went into a house on Summerfield Road, Todmorden

An elderly couple have been left homeless after a runaway car smashed into their home.

The car plunged down a steep hill into the back of the house, whilst a disabled pensioner slept upstairs.

George Ribchester’s wife Audrey said her husband could have been killed in the freak incident at their Todmorden house that has forced the couple to move out.

Mrs Ribchester was unaware that a black Audi A3 had ploughed into her home when she returned from the supermarket on Monday.

“I thought I was dreaming when I walked around to the back of the house and saw the car inside the utility room. It was devastating,” said Mrs Ribchester.

“My first thought was George as he was sleeping upstairs. He could have been dead but he was fine thankfully.”

Mr Ribchester, who uses a electric chair lift to get upstairs and downstairs, was left stranded when the power had to be turned off.

Todmorden firefighters had to rescue him from his room after the crash at the Summerfield Road house.

He has since gone into respite care at Ferney Lee Care Home.

Tracey O’Keefe, a niece of Mrs Ribchester, said: “The whole thing has caused so much stress to my family.

“The firefighters, PC Hamilton and Ferney Lee Care Home were all absolutely fantastic with everything they did for us and for George. We cannot thank them enough.”

When firefighters arrived they discovered that a car had rolled down a steep hill into a house. Nobody was in the car at the time of the crash.

The car rolled down from a neighbouring property due to a suspected mechanical failure.

Neighbours Susan and Darrell Sunderland had come home to find police and firefighters around the area.

“We didn’t know what had happened until we looked out the back,” said Mrs Sunderland.

“It is scary to think what could have happened. If Audrey had been in the utility room she wouldn’t have seen the car coming as there are no windows. It could have been a different story.”

Geoff Shaw, Todmorden watch commander, said: “The car had been parked on a drive and mechanical failure had cause it to roll down 
the steep banking in to the house below.”

The incident caused extensive damage to the ground floor extension and the boiler had become disconnected.

Firefighters secured the site, before calling the Gas Board to disconnect the gas.

Building control also attended and ruled that the ground floor extension was unsafe, meaning the couple have had to temporarily leave their home. Nobody was injured in the incident.