Construction begins nearly a year after Kirkland Police car crashes into home
By MATT PHELPS
Kirkland Reporter Regional Assistant Editor
December 17, 2010 · Updated 9:37 AM
Joey Ladson and his family could not spend Christmas in their Kirkland home last year thanks to the Kirkland Police car that crashed into their living room.
The Ladson's won't be spending this Christmas at home either.
"We were able to get into a house before Christmas last year but we will be spending this Christmas in that same house," said Ladson, while standing in front of a gaping hole in the side of his house on Friday afternoon. "I am sure the neighbors are happy to see something happening with the house ... But it has been interesting not knowing where I am living from month-to-month."
Construction on the house finally began Friday, as Angel's Concrete began work to fix the foundation. Ladson hopes to be back in the home, which his mother owns, by the end of January.
"They have to replace the deck, two walls, the brick work above the fireplace and the foundation wall," said Ladson.
The accident happened on Dec. 15 last year when an officer was driving north on 124th Avenue N.E. in response to a domestic violence call. A southbound vehicle suddenly turned left in front of the marked patrol car and the officer swerved right to avoid hitting the vehicle, plowing through Ladson’s hedge and finally coming to stop after hitting the residence.
The crash destroyed the front wall of the foundation, the front living room wall and the deck in the back of the house was knocked off the foundation. The family's home entertainment center and Christmas tree were knocked to the other side of the house. The county deemed the home uninhabitable, forcing the family to find other accommodations.
Joey's son Raz, who attends Lake Washington High School, was the only one home at the time of the accident.
“He called me and asked ‘what do I do about a police car in the living room?' ... He doesn’t have a sense of humor, but yeah, I thought he was joking,” Joey told the Reporter last year.
Ladson said he doesn't hold anything against the Kirkland Police Department: "I work with officers and I know that there is the good and the bad. It is just like everything in life."
The time lapse with getting the house fixed has to do with many different issues but the biggest has been haggling with insurance companies.
"It is amazing how much insurance companies will fight over every penny," said Ladson, whose insurance is paying for the construction. The insurance company will then settle with the City of Kirkland.
Ladson said he had mixed feelings about dealing with the city.
"The Permitting and Planning departments were great," said Ladson. "It was just the outside agencies that slowed it down."
Getting the house fixed will not cost Ladson anything out-of-pocket, thanks to his insurance and the city. But just getting the house fixed was not ultimately what Ladson wanted.
"We thought about a whole new structure but the city wanted $10,000 in upgrades like a new sidewalk area and it became too expensive," said Ladson.
At the time of the accident, Ladson had just been laid-off from work, compounding the problem. Since then he has found a new job and hopes that by the end of January his life can get back to normal.Contact Kirkland Reporter Regional Assistant Editor Matt Phelps at firstname.lastname@example.org or 425-822-9166 ext. 5052.