A Richland garbage collection truck ran into a house Wednesday morning in the 500 block of Riverstone Drive, displacing a family of five and two large dogs.
The crash occurred because the truck’s accelerator was stuck, according to the Washington State Patrol, which was called in for an independent investigation.
The house, which was hit around 7:45 a.m., is considered uninhabitable. Damage also was caused to the family’s yard and sidewalk, as well as a neighbor’s yard, according to a city news release.
The city is working with its insurance company to get temporary housing for the homeowners, David and Melissa Kaiser.
Melissa Kaiser had fallen asleep on the living room couch Tuesday night, but she decided to go back to the bedroom after she was awakened early Wednesday by their oldest daughter leaving for a trip to Silverwood Theme Park in Idaho.
“I’m glad I did because this happened about an hour and 10 minutes later,” she said.
Melissa Kaiser and her twin children were awakened by the truck driving into their living room.
“It was something I never heard before,” she said. “What stuck in my mind is all I can see is (the driver). He just sat there with a blank look on his face.”
The driver later backed the truck out of the house and said he was sorry, she said.
The driver has been placed on paid administrative leave during the investigation, the city said. He also was required to take a drug and alcohol test. The city reassigned another truck to complete the garbage collection route Wednesday.
The city had inspected the garbage truck before its route Wednesday morning, as it does each day for all vehicles that require a commercial license to drive, said Trish Herron, Richland communications and marketing manager.
Herron said the city’s and the Kaisers’ insurance companies will work together to determine responsibility for the damages.
“Our primary focus today was making sure the family was taken care of,” she said.
But the family had not heard from the city, Melissa Kaiser said.
“They can’t even get an insurance adjuster out here until Friday,” she said.
An entrance way to the house was destroyed, and part of the roof was damaged, she said. Inside, a table and some chairs were damaged.
“It’s going to take months to get this repaired,” Melissa Kaiser said.