PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — It was a quiet Sunday evening as Donna Pluta was reading a book to her 2-year-old daughter, Lake, at bedtime when suddenly a black Lexus crashed into her daughter’s room.
The impact of the crash shook the entire house and pushed the crib off the wall.
Luckily, Lake wasn’t in her crib yet. Her mom was reading to her on a couch in the room.
“She was, thankfully, not ready to go to sleep,” Donna told KOIN 6 News. “We were winding down, reading stories on her couch in her room. We just heard a sound that sounded like a bomb going off. I mean, really, it was so intensely loud. Scared the living daylights out of us.”
The wall cracked, Lake’s crib came off the wall, and her fiance’ rushed into room to see if they were OK.
“We were just terrified,” she said. “The sound was so loud.”
They ran outside and saw 2 people running across their lawn with police chasing them. “It was quite the scene,” she said.
The driver, 22-year-old Ramone Rodarte, was arrested and faces 17 charges ranging from eluding police and reckless driving to possession of heroin. His 22-year-old passenger was released at the scene and not charged.
The Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office said deputies tried to pull Rodarte over for not having a license plate, but he sped off and crashed into Donna’s house within minutes.
Donna told KOIN 6 News they’re still assessing the damage to the house. But she said the neighbors have really responded and rallied to help repair the miniature golf course they have in their side yard.
The “community golf course,” also known as Twin Pines Country Club, takes up most of their side yard where people in the neighborhood can come and play for free.
“I have a very creative partner and he just really wanted to do something fun with it,” she said. “We found a ton of free grass, free Astroturf, on Craigslist.”
There are clubs and balls for both adults and kids to play whenever they want between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. “We just come home from the grocery store and there’s people playing.”
After the crash on June 4, the neighbors sprang into action.
“Some neighborhood kids who helped create the course initially and who play on it quite a lot, they came over over the weekend and put it back together,” Donna told KOIN 6 News. “That was a surprise for us. We came back from a camping trip and it was done, so it was really sweet and heartwarming to see that support from the community.”
The neighbors, she said, put up a barrier and a safety cone where the car came in.
“Everyone has just offered help however they can,” she said. “We’re grateful for that.”
Donna and her fiance’ had planned a trip to the Oregon coast last week and decided to go even after the crash.
“We made the most of a really rough situation, so hopefully we’ll think of this more as the week we got engaged rather than the week a car came crashing through our home.”