HOWLAND, Ohio (WKBN) – On Wednesday night, a car crashed into the basement of a house in Howland, killing a man inside.
The Ohio State Highway Patrol said 45-year-old Matthew Burke was the man who died.
It happened just after 9:30 p.m. in the 1300 block of Deforest Road, west of North Road.
Investigators say 24-year-old Damien Fish, of Warren, was driving a 2006 Honda Civic under the influence.
“It’s a senseless act if innocent people are at risk,” said Lt. Brain Vail from the Ohio State Highway Patrol Warren Post. .
When Fish crashed into the home, Burke was hit and killed. Investigators say the car landed on Burke who was laying in a bed in the basement.
911 dispatcher: “Is it a car into the house?”
Caller: “Yes, yes! I have someone in the basement.”
Dispatcher: “What do you mean someone –“
Caller: “The car is in the basement.”
Burke’s fiancée, Misty Young, said she was watching a movie with Burke over Facebook Live and Skype when the crash happened. Young lives in Canada and has been in a long-distance relationship with Burke for 11 years.
Young said she saw a flash and heard what she thought was an explosion, then the screen cracked and she heard Burke yelling for help.
“I seen something just fly toward the camera, and the camera on Skype and the camera on the phone, they both like, the lens smashed on them. So like, the cameras were on but it was just like weird colors. I couldn’t see, but I could hear him through the Facebook Messenger crying out for help.”
Young says Burke’s dog Chika was also killed.
She told us, “Matt was a big teddy bear. He wasn’t afraid to show his love for me and he will be so deeply missed by us all. My soulmate, the love of my life.”
Young said she and Burke have a child together, and each of them have other children as well.
Thursday afternoon, a woman who lives nearby placed flowers near the scene of the crash, memorializing Burke. She said she hopes that he is at peace.
Neighbors described hearing a loud screeching noise before the crash.
“I saw the ambulances and police flying past my house, and I go see it’s close by, and come down here and the car was through the basement, through this house,” Clarence Stewart said.
Stewart said he’s seen careless drivers in the area before.
“A lot of people speeding, passing people left and right, going like 60 to 70 miles per hour. People are nuts around here.”
Fish, the driver, was taken to St. Elizabeth Health Center in Youngstown but wasn’t seriously hurt.
Vail said they’ve already obtained a search warrant for a blood sample, but they are also working to get one for Fish’s hospital test results.
“I’m going to make sure there’s justice for him. He did not deserve that. He was such a great person,” Young said.
No charges have been filed yet.
Editor’s note: This story is corrected to show that Burke was not sleeping in his house at the time of the crash.
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