BEVERLY — Dodging cars and trucks is just a fact of daily life in America. It's something people accept.
But they don't expect to have to dodge them in their living room.
Deb Holloran had to do exactly that last week. And it's the second time that her Radcliffe Road property has had the bad luck of being a target for "off-road" vehicles.
The picture window on her ranch house is now covered over in board and plastic. The pickup truck that came crashing through was driven away only a little worse for wear.
But Holloran said she will never be the same.
Last Sunday, she was watching a program on Antarctica on the Discovery Channel, sitting on her favorite couch. Husband Mike was out.
Leaving the room on an errand, Holloran heard a noise and turned, puzzled, then astonished, then horrified to see the rear end of a truck come crashing through the picture window, heading right for her.
Horrified, she held out both hands, as if asking the vehicle to stop. It didn't. It pushed the couch, the recliner, and parts of the wall and other furnishings across the room.
"It just kept coming," she said. "It pushed everything as far as it could go and then stopped." Holloran found herself pinned briefly to the wall, leaving her uninjured but in a state of shock.
The intruding truck, meanwhile, was driverless.
It belongs to a 16-year-old across the street. He later explained that he had put on the emergency brake and couldn't understand what went wrong.
"He was just devastated," said Holloran, adding that his family pitched in at once to help get her house back to normal. "They're the nicest people."
Holloran wonders what would have happened if she hadn't gotten up at that moment. Or if her husband had been in his recliner. "We're blessed just to be alive. I really feel blessed."
Thirty years ago, she said, a drunken man left his vehicle unsecured and it started to roll, heading for the front room where her infant son was sleeping. In that case, a tree intervened and the vehicle bounced off and rolled back across the street.
The owner tried to claim the vehicle hadn't hit the tree. "Then why are all of its branches in your grill?" Holloran remembers asking.
Life has changed in the Holloran household since last week's accident.
"I got a little bit paranoid," Hollaran said. "I haven't slept that well."
Television habits were adjusted. They watch in a different room now, and she adds, "I'm not sitting there again."