Four months after Chuck and Jana Leftwich’s century-old home was hit by a speeding vehicle, W&M Welding Inc. removed the porch roof with a 70-ton crane Thursday morning.
Due to the historical aspect of the home, located in the 900 block of West Broadway Boulevard, Chuck Leftwich said they wanted to make sure it was restored back properly to its former grandeur. Damage to the house is estimated at $98,000.
According to the Sedalia Police Department report, the West Broadway Boulevard home was damaged after SPD was involved in a vehicle pursuit early Tuesday morning on Nov. 29, 2016.
The SPD report stated that at 1:36 a.m. officers attempted to stop a Ford Explorer for spinning tires in a parking lot in the 3000 block of West Broadway Boulevard. The vehicle failed to stop for officers and a pursuit began. The suspect vehicle continued east on Broadway Boulevard, traveling at a high rate of speed.
The vehicle then attempted to turn onto Quincy Avenue while speeding and the driver lost control of the vehicle. It struck the curb at the corner of Quincy and Broadway and went airborne, striking a concrete retaining wall where it vaulted into the air and onto the front porch of the Leftwich home.
Two juveniles were found inside the vehicle, and the driver fled the scene. The vehicle belongs to one of the juveniles’ parents and it was taken without consent.
Both juveniles were eventually found and the Pettis County Juvenile Office was contacted, as was the juveniles’ parents.
When the incident happened, Leftwich, who was asleep upstairs, thought there had been an explosion.
“… They had them clocked going 103 mph going down Broadway,” he said. “They thought they had slowed down to 80 when they attempted to turn left … they went airborne and flew through the end of the house. It was 1:30 in the morning and I thought it was a gas explosion. I heard glass breaking and, I ran down the steps and I saw what I thought was smoke, but it was mortar dust.”
The vehicle didn’t breach the home’s interior, but it did cause damage to the plaster inside.
Leftwich told the Democrat Thursday morning that the brick home was built by Louis Yonker 100 years ago. Yonker owned a drug store with another man that was known as the place to be in the 1920s.
“I read that the Yonker-Leirman Drug Store was the hot-spot for social activity or a social hub,” he added. “Yonker built this (house) and he lived here for a lot of years and then he sold it to Dr. Donald Proctor. Then he sold it to Millie and Charlie Curry and they had it for close to 40 years.”
The Leftwiches have owned the house for 15 years.
“We bought it in 2002,” he said. “I’m retired and this is where we’re staying. We’re not moving again, this is our retirement home. I’ve done everything in my power to try and get this thing put back to maintain the integrity of it. I hand-picked my workers and I’ve got Keith Haulotte (Haulotte Construction Services) as my general contractor. And, I’ve got Andrew Truener, he’s going to do all my brick work, and Phillip Ramey is doing all my concrete work.”
Haulotte noted Thursday that the brick house “was built stout.” He added that the porch “roof system” weighed approximately 15,000 pounds and once it was loose and removed from the house it would be taken to W&M to be assessed by the Leftwiches’ insurance company.
“That’s the thing about these old houses,” Leftwich said. “They are hard to put back together.”
Employees of W&M cut four lifting points into the roof before securing it to the crane lines. They also cut the rafters loose from the house. After setting the lines the decision was made to reset them in hopes the roof would stay flat during the removal and not tip, hitting the home. All went as planned and the roof was moved safely at approximately 11:40 a.m. with no mishaps.
Faith Bemiss can be reached at 530-0289 or on Twitter @flbemiss.