Reily Twp. Family Wakes Up to Wrecked Car in Yard


The driver of the car apparently was not seriously injured and left the scene without talking to the Burnetts on Monday. Photo courtesy of Erin Burnett.

By Chris Vinel

Shortly after 8 a.m. on Monday, May 27, a Reily Township family woke up to a smoking, wrecked car on their front lawn.

Erin Burnett said she and her husband, James, were startled awake by their nine-year-old son. The child had looked out a window and noticed a smashed car in the yard of their home on Stillwell Beckett Road, near the intersection of Stillwell Beckett and Law Road.

Minutes before, the driver had run off the right side of the road and into a ditch, according to the Butler County Sheriff’s report. The car, a grey 2006 Honda Civic, then rolled over, striking a traffic sign before coming to rest in front of the Burnett’s house.

The incident report lists Melissa Colwell, 45, of College Corner, as the vehicle’s owner and driver. The car had Indiana license plates.

No other vehicles or people were involved. According to the incident report, the Civic’s driver was not operating the vehicle while distracted or under the influence, and the road was dry.

“First, my husband looked out the window and saw a girl just standing there, and he thought, ‘Oh my gosh, somebody’s hurt,’” Erin Burnett said. “So he got his clothes on and went to go outside, and she was gone.”

James Burnett looked in the car, expecting to see a dead body, but found the vehicle vacant. A passerby stopped and told the couple she saw the girl get into a Ford Mustang that had pulled up and leave the scene.

The Burnetts called 911 and the Mustang was later pulled over by police, with Colwell in the passenger seat. According to the incident report, she was then taken by ambulance to Oxford’s McCullough Hyde hospital with minor injuries. She was wearing a seatbelt at the time of the crash, according to police.

Colwell was not cited by police.

The car was towed away from the scene between approximately 9-9:15 a.m. The incident report says the car had “disabling damage.”

The incident wasn’t the first time a car has ended up in the Burnett’s front yard.

“There have been three,” Erin Burnett said. “There was a Miami student. I think they just didn’t know where they were at, because there was a detour. And then there was an SDS Pizza delivery guy, who’s car actually flew like Dukes of Hazzard into our yard.”

Outside of the Burnett’s yard, the intersection of Stillwell Beckett Road and Law Road has produced multiple other crashes in recent years. Even a school bus was rear-ended, while children were getting on it.

“This incident might bring some light to this intersection because it is so bad,” Erin Burnett said. “[…] And nobody wants to change this way it is.”