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City denies guardrail, seeks other solutions after car crashes into Hobart home

This house was struck by an alleged drunk driver November; car came rest top toddler's crib. The homeowner asked for

This house was struck by an alleged drunk driver in November; the car came to rest on top of a toddler's crib. The homeowner asked for a guardrail but Hobart officials say other solutions might work better. | Karen Caffarini/For the Post-Tribune

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Updated: December 18, 2013 8:50PM



HOBART — A homeowner whose toddler’s bedroom was crashed into last month by an alleged drunken driver hoped a guard rail would prevent any future occurrences, but city officials have denied that request, saying they believe there could be a better solution.

Curtis Asher, of the 100 block of S. Wabash St., had asked the Board of Public Works to place the rail in front of his house, where Cleveland Street comes to a “T” intersection at Wabash.

City engineer Phillip Gralik said the city doesn’t want to start putting guardrails at every “T” intersection. He also doubted if a guardrail would have helped in this instance.

“The westbound lane on Cleveland doesn’t align with the house. It would need to be a guard rail of a substantial length to prevent this from happening in the future,” Gralik said.

He recommended the board deny the request and refer the matter back to him. He said he could give Asher other options, such as the installation of a landscape berm or boulders.

He said he could work with the homeowner on the cost.

Asher was not at the meeting and could not be reached for comment despite several attempts to reach him. The home is being repaired and the family has not been living there since the accident.

Police Chief Richard Zormier noted the circumstances surrounding the crash; the suspect is accused of speeding, and driving while drunk.

“You can’t predict every accident,” Zormier said.

Ezekiel L. Abegg, 25, of Hobart was charged with two counts of operating a vehicle while intoxicated and failure of duty, all misdemeanors, for the crash, which occurred early on Nov. 17 after a night of drinking, according to a Hobart Police Department news release.

Abegg’s white Oldsmobile was found resting on Asher’s 3-year-old daughter’s crib.

The toddler sustained cuts, scrapes and bruises along with injuries to her hand. Asher told police he found her under a pile of debris, her head just inches from the driver’s side tire.

None of the other three family members were injured.

Mayor Brian Snedecor said if all the driver had done was to disregard the stop sign, he would have ended up in the wooded area next to Asher’s house, instead of into the house itself.

He and other board members were sympathetic to Asher.

“I understand his concerns. It would behoove us to look into the matter and at least give him some options,” member Rich Lain said.

The board made its denial of the guardrail contingent on the city talking with Asher to find a potential solution.



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