Normally on a sunny summer morning, Lucille Slonski will take her coffee out to her patio in front of her home at the corner of 30th Avenue and 25th Street, sit and soak up the morning sun.
Wednesday morning, Slonski was running behind. She was in her bedroom getting dressed, just after 9 a.m. Her husband, Bob, had just finished watching the news on TV when both heard a loud bang come from the front of the home they’ve shared for 30 years.
A Lower Mainland delivery truck carrying a stairlift system and boiler components had crashed into the Slonskis’ retaining wall and hit the side of their home.
“I heard ‘crash,’ ‘bang,’ a lot of goddamn noise,” said Bob, 83.
Added Lucille: “I opened the window, saw a lot of dust, saw the concrete wall was down, then I saw the truck driver get out, kneel down and hold his head. I think he was in shock.
“If I’d been out there having my coffee, they’d be scattering my ashes over the boulevard.”
Reports indicate the truck driver had never been to Vernon before and was relying on the truck’s GPS system, which took him to 30th Avenue and, of course, the two-phase portion of the road known to locals as Suicide Hill. Witnesses told RCMP the truck made it up the first portion but when he got to the flat part of 24th Street and tried to go up the final portion, the truck stalled and with it went the truck’s brakes.
The truck went off the road to the south on 30th Avenue, went down the embankment, somehow missed the stairs and a power pole, clipped a chunk of a stone walkway, missed a bush, went into the Slonski’s retaining wall, hit a portion of the east side of their home and tipped slightly on its side before coming to a rest.
The home sustained some structural damage. The truck sustained significant damage and was being towed out of the home just before noon. Nobody was injured.
It’s not the first time the Slonskis have had a vehicle end up in their yard trying to go up Suicide Hill.
“The first was about 15 years ago,” said Bob. “A guy had an epileptic seizure. This was before they put the (traffic) island in there. He was weaving, hit the tree in front and ended up hitting our retaining wall.”