CBS News reports that an underage driver crashed into a parked vehicle then careened into a home starting a devastating house fire on Monday.
Orange County Authorities say that 20-year-old Nicholas Ashton Perez was driving a Honda Civic in the Westpark neighborhood in Irvine when he crashed into a parked vehicle and careened into a home.
The car blew through the kitchen of the residence and immediately started a fire.
CBS reporter Michele Gile spoke with the woman who was inside the home at the time of the crash.
“I was screaming and yelling, ‘God help me!’” the woman said. Not wishing to be identified because of all she had been through, she said she would never forget that moment.
Seeing that her dog was still trapped inside the home that was now on fire, she went inside and found Chase, her 15-year-old Pomeranian, terrified and huddled behind the refrigerator that had been pushed into the living room of the dwelling.
Eyewitnesses say that Perez and his girlfriend who was in the vehicle as a passenger took off on foot.
“They began hopping fences,” a spokesperson for the Irvine Police Department, Kyle Oldoerp said, “and our officers were able to locate them a short distance away. Our officers field sobriety tests and determined it was likely that the driver was under the influence of alcohol.”
Because Perez is under the age of 21, and a minor, he is required to have a zero percent blood alcohol level.
The home has been inspected and red-tagged. The woman and her daughter are now staying with family members while they work with their insurance company to find out what happens next.