On Wednesday a 26-year-old man driving a Chevy Malibu at 100 mph launched the vehicle up an embankment, sending the vehicle 173 feet into the air and into the third floor of an apartment building.
The 2004 Malibu was completely destroyed by the accident, and the driver, Mentor, Ohio resident Carmen Ritacco, was pronounced dead at the scene. No one was present in the apartment that car flew into.
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It is still undetermined what caused the Ritacco to drive into the embankment, which caused the vehicle the become airborne. However, tests will be conducted to determine whether alcohol or drugs could have played a role in the incident.
“His family was stunned, unable to explain it,” said Police Chief Michael Lazor.
According to Police, the car sped west on Vine Street through Willoughby, Ohio. At one point, Ritacco veered off the road just north of Lake Shore Blvd. and slammed into the 6-foot-high mound adjacent to the front of the Shoregate Towers apartment building.
At the speed Ritacco was was traveling, the Malibu reportedly had little effort launching off of the mound following the impact.
Aside from damage to the building, no other damage to vehicle in the nearby parking lot was reported. No other injuries to residents in the building were reported.
“It’s remarkable the car only marked up the building and that it didn’t cave in,” said Allen Gill, 59, who lives on the 11th floor. “I can’t believe he flew over other cars before he hit the apartment. Everyone in the building had to hear and feel the impact. We were fortunate nobody else got hurt.”
Click to view image: 'crash graphic'
Click to view image: 'crash photo'
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