PHOENIX — Katia Diaz has now experienced two near-death experiences while sitting in the comfort of her home.
“It’s like a dejavú that’s kept repeating,” she told 12News Thursday.
Diaz and her seven-year-old niece were watching a movie in the living room of their home near 34th Avenue and Camelback Road when the two fell asleep. Shortly after, they were woken up by a loud noise.
Around midnight, a car crashed into a neighborhood wall, causing extensive damage to her and her neighbor's properties.
“All you hear is a car hitting my car and like an explosion and that’s when I shielded her with my body,” she said. “I heard her screaming, shaking, not knowing what was going on.”
The couch they were sleeping on was pushed from the front of the house to the middle of the living room. The front door was gone and the windows were crushed.
Diaz and her niece were blanketed with shattered glass and the floor was full of debris and broken cinder blocks.
With no shoes on, Diaz rushed her niece to her parent's room and went outside. There she saw damage all around and a truck on its side in the neighbor’s yard.
She called 911 and while on the phone with the dispatcher she began to hear a pounding noise.
“For a moment I thought there was somebody beneath my car or something like maybe they were dragged,” she said before realizing the noise was coming from the flipped vehicle. “When I turned around, that’s when I see the guy getting out of the car, fleeing the scene.”
She told police the motorist, who had a limp, walked away from the crash site east on Camelback before officers arrived. Officers attempted to find the driver but were not able to.
Her neighbor’s house and two cars suffered extensive damage as well.
They did not want to speak on camera but told 12News they were prepping for Thanksgiving when the crash happened. Due to the damages, the home is unsafe to live and they are forced to look for a place to stay.
Diaz's family was allowed to stay but said they are unsure if they want to.
“10 years ago, something similar [happened],” she said. “I was in the living room as well and a car hit the same spot.”
That time, the car only broke the window. The damage was much less than this time around.
Their once beautiful living room is now unrecognizable. Wood boards have replaced their front wall, door, and window. Where there was once a living room set, a rug, and a chest full of toys, now sits debris.
After escaping the near-death experiences, Diaz says she doesn’t feel safe at home.
“It’s scary but thankful no one was hurt,” she added.
Diaz's family and her neighbor have created fundraisers to help them rebuild.
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