HUDSON — David Carvalho was driving a street sweeper up sharply graded Tower Street Monday when he made an unnerving discovery: The vehicle did not have the power to go any farther uphill, and the brakes would not stop it from rolling downhill.
From his perch atop the machine, Carvalho was forced to make a quick decision. He could keep the vehicle on the street and roll backwards, uncontrolled, through a nearby busy intersection, or drive the sweeper off the road.
“I knew there were a lot of cars and people walking,’’ said Carvalho, “so that’s why I chose to go to the side of the road.’’
The freewheeling street sweeper rolled into a parked truck and caromed into the front porch of Wagner Calhau’s home just as the Calhau household was getting ready for school.
“The experience was horrible,” said Calhau, who heard the crash as he was getting his children, ages 5 and 7, ready. “We just heard that huge noise, and for a second I thought the whole house was collapsing.”
Calhau ran upstairs to look at the roof when he heard his wife open the front door and exclaim that there was a “huge sweeper” buried in their front porch.
“It wasn’t 20 feet away from the room of my little girl,” Wagner Calhau said in a telephone interview. “I wouldn’t wish that on anybody.”
Police responded to the crash on Tower Street at 7:18 a.m. Hudson Police Chief David Stephens said in a telephone interview that Carvalho told his officers the machine simply stopped operating.
“According to the operator, the machine shut down completely, and he lost all control,” Stephens said. “I find that kind of strange, so we’re looking into that a little further.”
No one was injured in the incident.
The vehicle, which is privately owned, was traveling between jobs when it crashed, Stephens said.
Though the sweeper was registered for traveling on roadways, a Hudson police officer discovered it had not received a city inspection for more than two years.
“I have to say thank God nobody got injured and the house can be fixed,” Calhau said.
The owner of the street sweeper, Antonio Carvalho, was cited for not having the vehicle inspected sooner. He is the father of the driver, David Carvalho.
Officials closed Tower Street as they worked to dislodge the vehicle from the front porch.
Calhau and his father-in-law, Joseph Patti, bolstered the porch with beams to support it as they worked on the house.
“It’s still there, and I can see the windshield wiper is still moving back and forth,” said Gail Thomas, a chiropractic assistant next door at the Hudson Chiropractic Clinic.
For the Calhau family, the crash has left them unsure if it is safe to come home.
“We have to wait for the city building inspector to tell us if we can come home, but we’ll probably just stay at my brother’s house for tonight,” Calhau said.
He added, “My son turns 8 tomorrow, and we were going to do something small
at home, but now I don’t know.”
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