Emergency crews on scene in the 2500 block of Norman Avenue
Thomas Hodgson. Source: Facebook (with permission of his family)
The Meriwethers. Source: Facebook
An accident Sunday morning in Evansville killed three people.
Evansville Police say 24-year-old Thomas Hodgson of Newburgh was driving east on Riverside when he lost control of his vehicle, hit a guardrail, and went airborne into a house on Norman Ave., killing himself and the two who lived inside.
The two people inside the home, 75-year-old Homer and 74-year-old Lela Meriwether, were an elderly couple who spent most of their lives together, and police believe, died together when a pick up truck crashed into their home.
Neighbors say they're used to hearing the scraping metal when cars hit the guardrail on Riverside Drive, but last night they say it sounded more like an explosion.
Mary Ellen Cooker woke to police lights outside her front window. She says she immediately worried about her neighbors.
"They were special people, very special," Cooker told 14 News.
Neighbors are mourning the loss of the Meriwethers. Many referred to them as the 'grandparents of the street'.
Coker says the two were high school sweethearts, married almost 60 years. They lived on South Norman Street for about 12 years and says the couple always worried about the their home sitting along the curve on Riverside Drive.
"It's very dangerous. I have lived in this particular house 60 years and we have complained and complained about the curve and the speed people try to take the curve," Coker said.
Coker says officials did install guard rails and a neighbor helped the Meriwether install metal poles in the ground to protect the house from an accident.
Even with those precautions, police say Hodgson lost control of his pickup truck, going airborne and crashing through the couples home while the Meriwethers lay asleep in the back bedroom.
Police say the truck went all the way through the home, and landed upside down in the backyard.
Police believe all three died on impact around 2:30 in the morning.
Sunday, neighbors spent the day reflecting on the memories they shared with the Meriwethers.
"She'd say, 'Oh Mary Ellen, I've made some Raffery's potato soup, and there was Homer, peeling potatoes and chopping onion,' and she says you've just got to taste this, but I need your crockpot," Coker said.
When Lela wasn't borrowing the crockpot or the wheel barrow, they were there to help.
"If I needed something, I could go and ask Homer and Lela and if they didn't have it, within a couple of hours, they did. They would make some calls, and I guess that's what neighbors are for," Coker told 14 News.
On Sunday night, a community is mourning and many say they've all learned something along the way from this special couple.
"They were the epitome of Christian, and that's a good thing," Coker said.
Officials say it is too soon to determine if speed, alcohol or drugs were a factor in this tragic accident.
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