Surprise impact: Unlicensed driver crashes SUV into Battle Creek home

Posted at 10:34 PM, Oct 05, 2015
and last updated 2015-10-05 22:34:53-04

BATTLE CREEK, Mich. -- When an SUV drove through the side of Brandi Baldwin's home, the house shook as if a bomb exploded, she said.

"If you could imagine a car running into your home at 50 mph, it was very scary," said Baldwin, mother of two, was at the time inside the house with a sick child.

Police tell FOX 17 the driver didn't have a valid license or proof of insurance.

The crash happened October 1, when the suspect, who's been identified as Nick Messenger, drove an SUV over several lawns before crashing into Baldwin's home in the 200 block of W. Burnham Street.

Baldwin is now trying to figure out how to pay for the damages left behind from what she's calling a reckless driver. "I paid $19,000 for this house, and there's probably $30,000 in damages, would be my guess," she said.

Messenger drove through multiple yards before crashing the SUV into Baldwin's home, said Battle Creek Police Sgt. Troy Gilleylen.

"The driver stated that his brakes failed on the vehicle and caused him to drive through Fairhome and Burnham," Sgt. Gilleylen said.

After leaving the road, Messenger hit a small tree, an electrical box, and a fence before crossing the street into another yard, where he struck a chain link fence, investigators said. He eventually ended up slamming into Baldwin's home.

Brian Mansfield, one of Baldwin's neighbors, said he heard the crash after Messenger ripped through his front lawn.

"I heard a boom, just like an explosion," said Mansfield. "I was thinking about mowing the lawn. I could have been hit, or even little kids. The neighbors have children, and they ride bikes down here all the time. They could have been hit or killed."

Messenger was cited for a driver's license violation and having no proof of insurance. Meanwhile, Brandi is left with a truck-sized hole in her family's home.

"We don't have adequate heating now, because he knocked out some of the heat ducts," said Baldwin. "The plumbing for the bathroom is completely destroyed. We're just hoping it can be fixed before it gets too much colder at night."

No one was hurt.

Baldwin is trying to sort things out with the insurance company to see exactly what may or may not be covered.