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Neighbors help clear out debris after truck plows into Naples home

Posted at 7:23 PM, Feb 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-17 19:23:22-05

NAPLES, Fla. — The search continues for the driver of a Ford F-150 pick-up truck who slammed into a Naples home and then ran off, leaving the pick-up truck at the scene.
It happened Saturday, around 1:30 in the morning.

Florida Highway Patrol says the driver of the Ford F-150 pick-up truck first struck a car on Golden Gate Parkway and sped away before crashing into John Martel's home located on 28th Place SW and 52nd St SW.

67-year old John Martel, was sound asleep when the truck smashed into his garage, bedroom, and two parked cars.

Martel says one of his cars was totaled.

On Monday, neighbors spent hours helping clear out debris left behind from the crash.

Martel says it's been heartwarming to get so much support from his neighbors.

"… words can't describe it, I'm dead serious, without them, I'd really be up the creek," said Martel.

When asked if he was happy to be alive, Martel replied, "to be honest; I'm not sure."

"Worst day of my life, something I'll never get over," said Martel, adding that his home is his life.

"The whole garage is demolished, the whole bedroom is demolished, the laundry room is demolished," said neighbor Tom Mahony.

Piece by piece, neighbors cleared up what is left of Martel's garage and bedroom.

Now, just a blue tarp covers where the garage door and bedroom wall should be.

Neighbors have created a fundraising account to help with Martel's repair expenses, and ask the community to help however they can.

"Either donation wise, labor wise, we need to put a couple of rooms back together, two by fours, drywall, sheetrock, stuff like that," said Mahony.

Martel says this is the second time a car slams into his house; it also happened 15 years ago.

Neighbors say no lighting, and a missing stop sign could be to blame.

"if you've never been down this street, you don't know that there is a turn coming, especially at night. There are no lights on this corner, so we really need to do something to make sure this doesn't happen again to him," said neighbor Jeremy Morris.

Martel tonight is asking the driver of the Ford F-150 to do the right thing and turn him or her self in.

Anyone with information regarding this investigation is encouraged to contact crime stoppers at 1-800-780-tips.