A 28-year-old Windsor man is facing an attempted murder charge after police say he got into a fiery argument just after midnight Sunday with his common-law wife, assaulted her and tried to run her down, slamming his pickup truck into a Hickory Road home in the process.
The man, whose name police did not release on Sunday, is being arraigned in court today and faces a slew of charges, including attempted murder, impaired driving, dangerous driving, assault with a weapon, assault, theft of a motor vehicle, and breach of probation, police say.
Police responded to the call at 1675 Hickory Rd. just after midnight, when a resident was awakened by the jolting crash that ripped off the left corner of the houses front porch.
The major crimes unit said that moments before the impact, the young couple had been arguing in the Ford F150, but the woman, also in her 20s, escaped into the street after her common-law partner assaulted her. She was left with facial injuries that were treated at Windsor Regional Hospital, police said.
Caitlin Baillargeon lives down the street from where the incident occurred. She said before the truck crashed, she heard screaming in the street. She looked out to see a man and woman yelling at each other next to the truck.
Then all I see is her running away and he got in the truck and it looked like he was going after her, said Baillargeon. She said she ran out of her house to see the victim running down the sidewalk on the west side of the street with the man driving in the truck close behind.
Baillargeon said the woman then quickly crossed the street just before the man veered the truck off the road and into a house on the west side of the street, in the direction the woman had just come from. She said the woman ran off out of sight.
Then after the truck hit the house, the hood of the truck was on fire and three or four guys ran over and were trying to open up the door to get him out, said Baillargeon. Then I just heard someone screaming Get a hose, get a hose, because his truck was on fire in the front.
Gary Scurk, who lives next door to the house the truck rammed into, said he had just gone to bed when he heard a loud bang and his house shook.
So I came out here and there were already neighbours trying to get the man out of his truck. He was saying Get me out, get me out, said Scurk. I thought he was trapped from his seatbelt, so I grabbed a knife and tried cutting it, but it was his legs that were trapped.
Scurk said he ran in to grab a pail of water to put out the fire underneath the hood, but by the time he had returned neighbours had already doused it with a hose.
There was nothing we could do but put out the fire, said Scurk. There was only the one door we could open and they were trying to pull him out but there was no way he was getting out.
The front left tire of the truck sat in a pile of dislodged bricks and shattered windshield glass.
Scurk said the moments it took for emergency crews to arrive seemed like forever, and when they did arrive, it was another half-hour or so before they could extricate the man.
Dozens of neighbours gathered on the street to watch as Windsor firefighters and Essex-Windsor EMS paramedics pried the man out of the crumpled drivers side of the truck.
He went right across my grass and just missed my porch, said Scurk, pointing to tire marks on his lawn. But theres no brake marks or anything. It looks like he just drove right into the porch.
Police said the driver was treated for minor abrasions at Hotel-Dieu Grace Hospital and released. He was then arrested.
The 28-year-old man is not believed to be originally from Windsor and has a criminal history with police in Ontario, investigators said.
Investigators are asking anyone with information that could help the investigation to call Windsor police major crimes unit at 519-255-6700, ext. 4387 or Crime Stoppers anonymously at 519-258-TIPS (8477).
With files from Emma Loop