WATERLOO — A semi driver told police he swerved to miss an animal in the road before crashing into a house along U.S. 6 in Waterloo at 4:50 a.m. Saturday.
Driver Muhammad H. Farooq, 26, of Melvindale, Michigan, was unconscious with a head injury when rescuers arrived. EMS medics transported him to a hospital after rescue crews extricated him from the semi cab.
Farooq later told police he swerved to miss an animal in the roadway and said fog made it difficult to see. However, on an official crash report, the Waterloo Marshal’s Department checked “driver asleep or fatigued” as a cause of the incident.
The occupant of the home at 190 E. Union St., Todd Lee Higgins, was thrown from his bed, injuring the back of his head and his right ear. He later went to a hospital for treatment of the wound to the back of his head and blood coming from his right ear. Two animals inside the residence were unharmed, the police report said.
Police said Farooq was traveling westbound in the 600 block of East Union Street (U.S. 6) when his semi failed to negotiate a curve to the left and continued traveling straight. The truck and trailer left the roadway on the north side and traveled down an embankment, striking power lines. It crossed North Washington Street and crashed into the north side of the house at 190 E. Union St., also hitting a gas meter and causing a gas leak.
Debris from the house had to be removed in order to free the driver, a Waterloo Fire Department spokesman said Saturday morning at the scene.
A neighboring resident said the collision sounded like muffled thunder. He said it is the second time a similar crash has occurred.
The crash site is one block east of Waterloo’s main intersection of U.S. 6 and S.R. 427.
The collision caused heavy damage to the roof, structure, interior and exterior of the house, owned by Debra Higgins, who lives nearby, according to police.
Police estimated a combined $50,000 to $100,000 damage to the house and to the 2018 Freightliner semi Farooq was driving, owned by Nextgen Detroit LLC of Ferndale, Michigan.
Waterloo firefighters were assisted at the crash scene by crews from the Auburn, Butler and Corunna fire departments. Edgerton, Ohio, sent a crew to cover Waterloo’s fire station. The Waterloo Marshal’s Department was assisted by Butler Police and the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Department. Parkview DeKalb EMS and NIPSCO also responded.