A SHOCKED family feared their home would come crashing down around them after a 4x4 vehicle smashed into it.
David and Sharon Corkhill, along with their young children, had to flee from their beds when the Land Rover ploughed into the gable end of their house.
The impact of the collision has left huge cracks throughout one side of the building in West Avenue, Murton.
David, 48, a warehouseman, said the couple were in bed when they heard the crash.
“I thought it was an articulated lorry because of the almighty thud and I could hear it going through the gears,” he said.
“My wife went to the stairs and started screaming and said get the bairns. She thought it was going to come down.”
The couple woke their sons Ryan, nine, and Lewis, seven, to escape from the terraced home.
Sharon, 43, said: “I just couldn’t believe it. I’m just so relieved nobody was hurt.”
The family rang the police once they were safely outside.
The cracks down the side of the house have affected the staircase, hallway and the recently decorated bedroom of daughter Hannah.
The 19-year-old was staying elsewhere for the night when the accident happened at about 10.30pm on Wednesday.
The impact also shifted the newly-fitted and decorated kitchen’s floor and walls, leaving the cupboards on the verge of falling off and cracks where the ceiling meets the walls.
Structural engineers from Durham County Council carried out initial checks and declared it safe to go into the house.
A barrier has been put up to keep passers-by clear of the side of the house.
Firefighters from Seaham also attended the scene and made sure the Land Rover, which was left with smashed windows, was safe.
The Corkhills, along with Sharon’s brother Gary Evans, 44, who is a multi-skilled engineer, are now waiting for the outcome of further investigations and for the driver’s insurance company to decide how to repair the house, which is on the junction of Williams Road.
Gary, who was celebrating his engagement to Lisa Parkin, 42, when he got a phone call about the crash, said: “We can only be thankful for the time it happened, someone could have been walking past.
“There’s severe damage. We’re waiting for the loss assessor to come, because the priority is to make sure it’s safe, not just inside but outside as well.”
The driver of the Land Rover, who said he was swerving to avoid another vehicle, was uninjured in the incident.