HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) — A man and woman were sound asleep in bed around 12:30 Monday morning when all of a sudden they woke up to a loud bang and their bed pushed several feet across the room. A neighbor had crashed her SUV into their bedroom.
“I had to pull her up from underneath the headboard,” recalls Tom Cistulli who managed to get out safely but realized his girlfriend wasn’t as lucky. “She was stuck. I yanked her out. She must have been knocked out unconscious because she woke up and started screaming.”
The crash happened at the Sweetwater Cove apartments off Memorial Highway at 5454 Ginger Cove Drive. Three children, ages 4, 11, and 12, were also inside the apartment.
Hillsborough County Fire Rescue crews responded to the scene.
The driver of the SUV, the couple’s upstairs neighbor, told News Channel 8 that she’d never do something like this intentionally and that it was just an accident.
She was trying to park in a spot just about 20 feet from the apartment and told us she accidentally hit the gas instead of the brakes and is sorry for the mistake.
“It’s just a bad accident,” Phyllis Jackson-Smith said. “It could have been worse so I just think God that everybody’s OK.”
After getting checked out at the hospital, Cistulli and his girlfriend returned to the apartment to get a few things. He wasn’t comfortable being there, especially with the memories of this incident so fresh in his mind.
“Even when I saw this, I couldn’t believe there was like a car in the bedroom,” Cistulli told WFLA. “I had no idea what happened. I actually had to stand up. I was just dazed by getting hit by some of this stuff. “
It’s a situation that certainly could have been much worse than a few minor injuries and a building that needs repairs.
“Nobody was hurt and that’s what I’m happy about,” Jackson-Smith said. “Whether they except my apology, I do apologize. Humbly, I apologize.”
When asked what saved him and his girlfriend, Cistulli told us, “The bed, honestly. If this headboard wasn’t here, the car would have ran over my girlfriend.”
Cistulli is now staying at his apartment with the kids and his girlfriend.
No word if structural engineers will come out to check the structural integrity of the building.
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