Vehicle drives through fence, slams into parked truck - WNEM TV 5

Vehicle drives through fence, slams into parked truck

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Paul Gillett (Source: Tuscola County) Paul Gillett (Source: Tuscola County)
TUSCOLA COUNTY, MI (WNEM) -

A Lapeer County man was taken into custody, accused of driving drunk and slamming into a fence.

It happened Saturday, July 15 in Tuscola County.

The sheriff’s department reports they were called to Millington after a vehicle left the road and drove through a fence at the Country Mouse Flower and Gift Shop.

>>Slideshow: Driver arrested for OWI following crash<<

The vehicle then went into a driveway of a nearby home and hit a parked truck.

If the truck hadn’t been there, the vehicle would have hit a bedroom, the sheriff said.

"Thank God the truck was over there because it hit the truck because it pushed the truck close to the house. If that truck wasn't there I'm sure it would have hit the house," said Bernd Allendorfer, neighbor.

While the driver hasn’t been formally charged, investigators said the driver is 38-year-old Paul Gillett, of Columbiaville.

>>Slideshow: Mid-Michigan mug shots<<

He was arrested for operating while impaired, a third offense.

He has since bonded out and is scheduled to be back in court in August.

"A lot of hard work just evaporated. It looked like tooth picks out here with the fence laying out here," said Clara Mosher, owner of the gift shop.

Mosher and her husband went to a diner in Millington to grab breakfast on Saturday when whispers of what happened before dawn made them go check on their store.

"But he came right off M-15, right straight. I don't know how he missed the porch and right straight down through the middle there," Mosher said.

Robert Barnum, owner of an auto salvage business in Millington, said in his line of work he is tired of seeing accidents like this.

"I just don't feel that they're punishing the people. I don't care if it's the first time or the seventh. There should be stricter punishment to not be out there drinking and driving," Barnum said.

Mosher said she is just glad no one was hurt, but they have their work cut out for them.

"It just looked so nice before it was damaged, you know? I'm just hoping we can get it back together," Mosher said.

The truck that was hit belongs to Scott Freeman.

"Just heard this outrageous noise," Freeman said.

He said he noticed something that made his heart drop. He claims Gillett had two child seats in the back of his car.

Freeman hopes the suspect gets help before it's too late.

"The two child seats could've been his kids," Freeman said.

Police said Gillett has two previous convictions of drunk driving.

Mosher said she found a bottle of vodka Gillett supposedly tossed out of his vehicle. She is disappointed he was allowed to be on the road in the first place.

"He could've took someone's life. Either on the road or he could've hit anyone coming in or out of this building or next door," Mosher said.

Tuscola County Sheriff Glen Skrent said it's hard to handle these type of accidents. Especially when the suspect has a track record of committing the same crime again and again.

"Well, it's frustrating because you know that there's going to be new victims out there every day after you arrest somebody for drunk driving first offense and they repeat themselves," Skrent said.

He said a stiffer penalty for first time offenders might not always work.

"People do drive even on a suspended license. So I don't know how helpful that is," Skrent said.

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