HomeCity NewsOwner of Car-Battered Home Calls for Improved Street Safety

Owner of Car-Battered Home Calls for Improved Street Safety

The driver of a black Tesla plowed through a traffic barrier and into the wall of a Buena Vista Street home Wednesday morning. The passengers — two adult women and one infant — inside the vehicle had non-life threatening injuries, police said.

The nearby intersection of Vanowen and Buena Vista streets has always been prone to accidents, said homeowner Raul Reyes. At least six vehicles have crashed into the barrier outside the home since Reyes purchased it in 1990.

“Cars are always flying down this street,” Reyes told the Leader. “Speeding and racing in the area is common. They’re not small cars either. It’s BMWs, Teslas and SUVs that are racing and driving in a dangerous way.”

And while Wednesday was the first time a vehicle careened into his home since he bought it, Reyes said the house has been hit at least once before under different owners.

“I have kids that live in my house. My wife and my kid just got lucky. They had just driven away from the parking spot where the car went through,” Reyes said. “We are just blessed that nobody was home.”

CCTV footage of the incident obtained by NBC Los Angeles shows the Tesla traveling at a high rate of speed before leveling the barrier and hitting Reyes’s cinder block garage wall, knocking it out of place.

The driver did not appear to attempt a turn or apply brakes, said Reyes.

“They just kept driving through the light, over the barrier and into the house,” he said. “They didn’t even try to turn.”

The barrier was added in 2016 when a vehicle destroyed the previous one, according to Reyes. Now, he hopes the city will install a stronger barrier and introduce additional safety measures like speed bumps.

He said the previous barrier was only set one foot deep in the ground, not enough to stop a speeding vehicle.

“Hopefully the city takes care of their residents and the safety of their residents. It’s clear this keeps on happening at this intersection. It should be planned a bit better,” he said. 

Drivers racing along Vanowen Street exceed 60 miles per hour, according to Reyes, who said he has witnessed an increase in street racing and reckless driving in recent years.

“This happens all the time now. It’s not the old Burbank anymore. We want to feel safe with our house facing Vanowen Street,” Reyes said.

For now, Reyes is waiting for the city to reach out to him about setting up a new barrier in front of the home. Neighbors have reached out to the city in the past about getting stronger barriers, he said. On Thursday, Reyes contacted Mayor Nick Schultz with hopes of garnering his support in making the street safer.

“We cannot stop an accident, but we need to put some safety measures along Vanowen and Buena Vista to make sure nobody gets hurt.”

First published in the May 18 print issue of the Burbank Leader.

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