Worst fears realized as car trashes garage

This house at 1149 Quail Drive on James Island was damaged when a car crashed into it early Tuesday.

Barbara Ancrum had considered the scenario before.

For two years, the 52-year-old James Island resident has seen speeding cars fly off the curve in front of her rental house at 1149 Quail Drive. They’ve bowled over mailboxes and crashed into neighboring homes.

But an explosion of bricks, garbage and mementos provided a rude awakening early Tuesday, when a joyriding teenager’s Buick slammed into her garage. A police report would later say the 18-year-old, who has only a learner’s permit and was out with two other teenagers, was driving “extremely too fast” for the residential street.

Though no one was hurt, the wreck that did $50,000 in damage to her home made Ancrum rethink the location’s safety.

“I was just waiting for someone to come around that curve and bust into my house,” she said. “But at 85 mph? Now that’s serious.”

The driver, Charles Devin Jorudd, later admitted to speeding and fleeing the scene around 1:30 a.m. because he “felt like he needed to run,” an incident report said. The resident of Wellington Drive, which is about three blocks away, was arrested on charges of reckless driving, leaving the scene of an accident with property damage and violating his driving permit’s conditions.

Deputies with the Charleston County Sheriff’s Office reported that Jorudd wasn’t impaired.

Two passengers in Jorudd’s 2005 Buick LaCrosse, a 13-year-old and a 16-year-old, were examined by paramedics, but they were not seriously injured.

After running home and reporting to his mother that he had crashed the car, Jorudd told deputies that he was traveling about 85 mph when he lost control.

The sedan narrowly missed a cluster of mailboxes, skidded over two lawns and two concrete driveways, missed Ancrum’s parked Cadillac by inches, then mangled the shrubbery in front of her house. It crashed into the corner of the garage, spraying bricks and splintered wood onto the lawn.

Remnants of the car and the garage’s contents were mashed together: two scooters, two pairs of Nike Air shoes, a fog lamp, a side-view mirror, pillows, pool cues and balls, the Buick’s grille.

Passersby offered comments on the void in Ancrum’s house, which she rents from the Charleston Housing Authority.

“Holy ...” one motorist said through an open window. “Somebody obviously can’t drive.”

“My grandfather used to tell me,” another man said, “that nothing good happens after dark.”

Sprinkled into the wreckage were photographs of Ancrum’s grandchildren and examples of their artwork that had been hanging inside the home. The garage had served as a game room, where Ancrum was playing pool with her fiance hours before the crash.

“I lost a lot of sentimental things,” she said. “But it could have been a lot worse. I am so blessed, really.”

The shower of bricks nicked and dented neighbor James Butler’s Dodge minivan.

The 77-year-old said authorities have installed stop signs on the neighborhood’s intersections in order to slow traffic. Deputies also have conducted enforcement initiatives, ticketing motorists who disobey the 25-mph speed limit.

But speeders fall through the cracks. One crashed into Butler’s mailbox last summer. Tuesday’s wreck, however, was “by far” the worst he has seen since moving here 34 years ago.

“There’s nothing else they can do, short of putting in speed bumps,” Butler said. “This was just plain carelessness. And stupidity.”

Reach Andrew Knapp at 937-5414 or twitter.com/offlede.

Andrew Knapp is editor of the quick response team, which covers crime, courts and breaking news. He previously worked as a reporter and copy editor at Florida Today, Newsday and Bangor (Maine) Daily News. He enjoys golf, weather and fatherhood.