CALUMET CITY | A 37-year-old Georgia man was killed early Thursday when the semi he was driving slammed into a Calumet City home.
Police had few details on the cause of the crash Thursday. Assistant Police Chief Dan Zorzi said the driver, Joseph Foster, was apparently swerving in traffic just after midnight when he ran over a car and slammed into the home at 1132 Michigan City Road just east of Torrence Avenue.
Foster's 11-year-old daughter was in the cab with him at the time of the crash. Zorzi said she was treated for minor injuries and released. The two people in the vehicle struck by the semi walked away unharmed, as did the residents of the home.
Don Hartkoorn has lived in the home with his family for 22 years. Hartkoorn said his wife and daughter were sleeping when he got up around midnight with a sore shoulder.
"I was going back to bed, and I went to the back of the house and looked out back for some reason, and I heard the longest screeching of brakes I'd ever heard," Hartkoorn said. "
Hartkoorn said he is used to hearing screeching brakes and crashes from people speeding down Michigan City Road and figured that was what he was hearing.
"I kept waiting to hear the crash, and immediately after, the whole house exploded," he said.
Hartkoorn went to the front of the house and saw the cab of the semi 12 feet into the living room and heard Foster's daughter crying in the cab.
The staircase to the second floor, where his 24-year-old daughter was sleeping, was destroyed. The semi came to rest at the wall of the bedroom where his wife was asleep.
"I walked out of the bedroom into all this debris," said his wife, Valerie Hartkoorn. "I saw (my husband) and he said, 'We've got to get out.'"
Their daughter, Jordan, had to jump out a rear, second-floor bathroom window onto a flat roof below her.
"A neighbor was there with a ladder before we knew it and then he just disappeared," Valerie Hartkoorn said. "We didn't know him and never saw him again. He must have been an angel."
Don Hartkoorn said by the time they all got out, they could hear police and fire sirens approaching.
"We're grateful for our neighbors and first and foremost, the Police Department and Fire Department for getting here so quickly," Don Hartkoorn said.
Police and fire crews continued working through the morning to remove the semi and the car it hit from the home.
"I'm most grateful to God," Valerie Hartkoorn said. "We want to offer our condolences to the family of the driver as well, especially his little girl."
The family will be staying with relatives for now. Despite the tragedy at their home, they said their spirits are high.
"After something like this happens, every day is a good day," Don Hartkoorn said.