Originally created 02/09/00

Car crashes into family home



When Brandon Tate and Reco Dunn heard the roar of a car engine outside the living room, they knew something wasn't right.

"First we saw lights in the window, then two seconds later the car ran through house and knocked me into the wall," Brandon said.

The next thing they remember, Reco, 14, was on the hood of a black 1995 Chevrolet Monte Carlo. Brandon, 15, was under the front bumper.

"I knew Brandon and Reco were in the living room, but I didn't see them at first," said Brandon's mother, Mary Tate, who was in a back bedroom of her Chadbourne Street home watching television with her husband at the time. "It was terrible. I just went crazy and started screaming frantically."

The investigating officer, Deputy Terry Skinner, said he's not sure how fast the car was going when it tore across a neighbor's front lawn and into the one-story, brick house on Chadbourne Street at 8:10 p.m. Tuesday. The driver -- Kyrem Haynes, 18, of Gebhart Drive -- was charged with driving under the influence, driving too fast for conditions and driving without proof of insurance.

Neither Brandon nor Reco was seriously injured. Mr. Haynes was treated for minor injuries at Medical College of Georgia Hospital.

The driver told authorities he was swerving to avoid someone in the road, Deputy Skinner said. "Even if a pedestrian did run out in front of him, he was going way too fast," the deputy said.

A 17-year-old passenger in the car was charged with possession of alcohol by a minor. Homeowner James Tate, a custodian at Westside High School, said neither occupant apologized or spoke to family members after the crash. As he was tending to Brandon and Reco, Mr. Tate said he heard one of the men cursing as police arrived.

Scanning the piles of bricks, insulation, wiring and broken glass that was once the front of their house, Mr. and Mrs. Tate said the most precious thing lost in the disaster was their children's trophy collection.

Observing the flattened Broyhill love seat and broken sofa -- where Brandon and Reco were sitting before the crash -- Mrs. Tate said she was thankful her son and his best friend were alive.

"I hope he knows how many lives he damaged tonight, and how many lives he could have taken," Mrs. Tate said of the driver.

Mr. Tate said the family, which includes daughters ages 17 and 12, would likely stay in a hotel Tuesday night. The house was insured, he said.