Police: Driver crashes car into home, smokes cigarette while watching house burn


It happened just before midnight on Fall Valley at High Grove in west Houston.

Firefighters say a man lost control of his vehicle, drove through a yard and ended up inside the living room of a house. It didn't take long for the car and house to go up in flames.

"I could hear the screeching of the tires," neighbor Jo Shields said. "Then I heard people yelling and things falling, bricks and stuff out the house. I looked out the window and saw a very large fire very close to my house."

She and other neighbors say they saw the driver get out of the car. They claim he even pulled out a cigarette as he watched the fire grow. The homeowners, who just recently moved away, arrived soon afterward.

"The police called and said your house has been hit by a car and its on fire," the homeowner, Mimi Moore, said.

The suspect's car was towed away, and he has been charged with driving while intoxicated. He's been identified as 24-year-old James Kenton VanHook.

"Not anger or anything. Just hopeful that's it's a lesson that they'll learn. Hopefully they won't do that again. He could've killed somebody else or himself -- maybe a Christmas blessing in disguise," Moore said.

Repairs here won't be easy or cheap, but the good news here is that nobody was hurt.

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