Driver Plows Into NY Home, Igniting Car and House; Family Runs Out to Save Him But He Runs Away

A driver veered off a Rockland County road early Friday, careening up a lawn, smashing into a home and rupturing a gas line, igniting both the vehicle and the house as a man, his wife and two kids were inside, authorities and witnesses say.

It's not clear what caused the crash on Sickletown Road in Pearl River; footage from the scene after firefighters doused the flames showed a charred carcass of a home. It appeared to have been completely gutted by fire.

The homeowner, Martin McMahon, says he was home with his wife and two of his kids -- his oldest is in college -- when the vehicle barreled into a lower level storage area, right below his 15-year-old son's bedroom, around 2 a.m.

McMahon says his 21-year-old daughter was awake at the time and saw headlights coming toward the home. She saw the moment of impact, and the fire break out immediately. The rest of the family got up and they all ran out to help save the driver, but found no one inside the car. He had run away. 

McMahon says he's most infuriated the driver took off as the family, running from their own burning home, tried to save him. The man, identified as 33-year-old Jude Donnelly, of Blauvelt, was later taken into custody on a charge of leaving the scene of an accident and multiple traffic violations.

No injuries were reported, and information on an attorney for Donnelly wasn't immediately available. Investigators say additional charges are possible.

A cause of the crash is under investigation. 

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