Family struggles after car hits home

Rental home flooded, tenants don’t have insurance to cover their losses

SAN ANTONIO - Anne Maha's family struggles to get by on a good day, but after a car punched a hole into her rental home, the family is finding themselves in need of some help.

The Saturday morning accident left the Northeast side home flooded and in need of serious repairs.

"I heard this big old commotion and I thought it was an earth quake," Maha said, recalling the impact of the car. "I turned to my left and I see a car in my kitchen."

The accident happened around 6 a.m. Saturday. A young driver lost control of his car on O'Connor Road and crashed through two fences. Then, the vehicle sailed over two ditches before punching a huge hole in the backside of Maha's rental home on John Barry.

The driver had some minor injuries, but no one inside the home was injured. 

The car struck a water main line and sent roughly two inches of water gushing through the entire home.

The kitchen took the brunt of the damage. The sink and pantry were destroyed and several appliances including the stove were damaged. Much of the family's food supply for the month was ruined and so were many personal items, including Maha's kids' clothes, which she had just folded and was waiting to put away.

Renters insurance could have covered the loss of those personal items, but Maha is disabled and said she couldn't afford it on her fixed income.

"I use every penny of my Social Security and my sister moved in here to help pay the electric and the heat and water and anything else that's over," Maha said. "I have no money left after that. I can't even afford to buy my kids new shoes or clothes. Every day we just struggle."

Maha's landlord used money out of his own pocket to repair the water line and restore power to the home.  He also shored up the hole and covered it with plywood and plastic, but he's still waiting for the driver's insurance company to check out the damage and cut him a check to fix everything else.

The landlord said he has a company scheduled to come remove the water and clean the carpets and is trying to make the home livable as fast as he can.

Meanwhile, Maha and her three kids were spending one more night in a hotel provided by the Red Cross.

"We got to leave the hotel room by 11 tomorrow and we have nowhere to go. It's here or nowhere," Maha said. "It could be two to three weeks that we have to live with nothing and not to mention the heating bill and the water bill from it spilling all over the house and then rent is due again. It's almost $1,000 and I just paid rent last week."

The landlord hoped to have everything, except the kitchen sink, in order by Tuesday, but had no idea how long the remaining repairs could take.

Even when the home is livable again, Maha won't get back any of them items that were damaged by the accident.

"I have been on the phone with anybody and everybody you can think of and I just don't know who else to call," Maha said. "Maybe somebody who's seeing this can help me and my family. That's all I'm asking."

For a list of recent stories Tim Gerber has done, click here.


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