Sioux Falls, SD
A 77-year-old Sioux Falls woman is out of her home after an SUV crashed into her living room just feet from where she was sleeping. Police arrested Shawn Essem, 31, at about 9:30 a.m. on Wednesday. Authorities suspect he crashed his GMC Yukon into a duplex on South Terry Avenue eight hours earlier. He faces charges for hit and run and reckless driving.
Police say Essem backed out of a nearby parking lot onto South Terry Avenue. As he was going forward, he lost control and crashed into the home.
"I was sleeping, and I heard what appeared to be a big bang," Jackie Conley said. Conley lives next door to where the crash happened.
Conley soon noticed fire trucks, police cars, and an ambulance outside.
"And then my neighbor from next door came up and knocked on my door and she said someone had driven into her place," Conley said.
So far, authorities estimate this damage will cost about $15,000 to fix. Police said the woman was not hurt, but could have been because her bedroom is near the living the room.
"(She was) In shock, as anybody would be if someone drove through your house," Conley said.
Though the suspect, believed to be Essem, drove away -- witnesses gave authorities the number of a license plate. Investigators traced it back to Essem's apartment.
"They went to his apartment complex. He wouldn't come to the door. He did answer the phone and had a conversation with officers on the phone, but he would not talk to them face to face," Sam Clemens, Sioux Falls Police Department Public Information Officer, said.
Though Clemens said alcohol may have been a factor in this crash, Essem does not face a drunk driving charge. Due to the fact authorities arrested him hours afterward; they do not have enough evidence to prove he was under the influence at the time of the crash. As for the woman who lives in the home, the Red Cross has stepped in to give her a place to stay.
"I was pretty amazed at how quick the response was and how ready everyone was to make sure she was ok," Conley said.