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Columbia Missourian

Neighbors witness 6-car accident in their front yard

By JANE KELLOGG
February 29, 2008 | 6:48 p.m. CST
This van is one of six vehicles that was hit early Friday on Southampton Drive.

COLUMBIA — Neighbors Kevin Roberts and Jamie Nickels were startled early Friday morning when a motorist crashed his pickup truck into several cars parked in the shared driveway of their duplex on Southampton Drive.

In the end, six cars were damaged and a man was arrested on suspicion of driving while intoxicated and leaving the scene of a motor vehicle accident.

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Nickels, of 732 Southampton Drive, woke around 1 a.m. to the sound of a car crashing outside her home. She said she rushed outside to find Roberts’ car a few feet from her front door, having apparently been pushed there after the truck crashed into a van in the driveway and pushed it into Roberts’ car.

Roberts was getting ready to take his dog out before going to bed when he heard the crash. “When I heard it, I rushed outside and came out right about the same time my neighbor did,” he said.

Roberts said he was outside in time to see a Ford F-250 truck back into another vehicle parked on the property and drive over the gravel driveway partition.

In the process, the van, which had been thrown several feet across the lawn, was pushed into another car, Roberts said. Still another car was pushed into a tree at the northwest corner of Roberts’ home, he said.

By then, the truck was trapped on the driveway by three of the damaged cars.

Roberts said his primary concern immediately after the accident was finding out if the driver was OK.

“We asked him to stop, and he said, ‘F— you’ before hitting two more cars,” Roberts said.

The driver pushed his way between two of the cars to get back onto the street and sped away, leaving skid marks on the grass, Roberts said.

“Our lawn basically looks like one giant pool table with cars instead of balls,” Roberts said.

Jonathan Eric Whitworth, 23, of 1501 Kinloch Court, was arrested at 2:40 a.m. Friday at his home on suspicion of driving while intoxicated, operating a motor vehicle in a careless and imprudent manner, leaving the scene of a motor vehicle accident and duty to maintain financial responsibility. He was released from the Boone County Jail on $5,000 bail at 8:44 a.m.

In October 2004, Whitworth pleaded guilty to and was convicted of driving while intoxicated, according to court documents. He was on probation for two years.

Roberts said that although the ordeal seemed to last forever, the driver was not on the property for more than five minutes.

Nickels, who said she has lived in the duplex only three months, was surprised by one positive outcome.

“It’s funny how this ended up bringing the neighbors together,” she said.