His Tacoma house is a home, once again

Speeding SUV hit it —insurance money fixed it

Staff writerDecember 24, 2013 

After months of waiting, Ratimir Glavicic is relieved to have his Central Tacoma house put back together after a speeding SUV plowed through the front porch and concrete foundation in May.

“I’m very relieved because Christmas is coming, and I want to celebrate and decorate the house a little bit,” Glavicic said recently.

The new, unfinished cedar shingles and pine lumber stand out, showing where the front of the house was destroyed and reconstructed.

The work didn’t start until August, when a worker dug out the crumbled foundation and re-poured concrete. The porch, which stretches along the front of the house, was rebuilt over four months with new doors and windows.

“It took longer than we expected,” Glavicic said. “We just wanted it done.”

Around 2:30 a.m. on May 11, Glavicic awoke to what sounded like a bomb when a gray SUV crashed head-on into the house in the 800 block of South Sprague Avenue. The vehicle tore down a cyclone fence, shredded the porch, shattered glass and tore through the foundation.

“It was a tremendous explosion,” Glavicic said later that day.

He was sleeping on the second floor; his wife, Gwen, and their 5-year-old grandson were asleep about 50 feet away from the crash on the first floor.

Blue, their Australian sheep dog, was sleeping on the porch near the crash and jumped out of harm’s way, Glavicic said.

The impact shook the house and “me from the bed,” Glavicic said.

No one was hurt.

The SUV was traveling from South Eighth Street when it hit Glavicic’s 90-year-old, five-bedroom wood house. The family had lived there three years.

The driver, Robin R. Casey of Orting, was arrested and charged with driving under the influence and reckless driving. Casey, 27, pleaded not guilty to both charges in Tacoma Municipal Court.

A Tacoma police officer reported he saw the SUV that Casey was driving at speeds in excess of 60 mph crash into the house. The officer said that while he was on bicycle patrol about a half-hour before the crash, Casey told him outside of a Sixth Avenue club that he was drunk and was waiting for someone to pick him up.

In July, Tacoma Municipal Court Judge Elizabeth Verhey agreed to defer prosecution of Casey for five years as long as he complies with several conditions. They include: completing a two-year alcohol treatment program, abstaining from drugs and alcohol, and not driving without a valid license, insurance and ignition interlock device.

If he meets those conditions through July 2018, the charges will be dismissed. Casey qualified for deferred prosecution under state law because he was diagnosed as an alcoholic, said Assistant City Attorney Keith Echterling.

Glavicic said his homeowner’s insurance covered all the costs of reconstruction to match the original porch. He said he doesn’t know how much the work cost.

Glavicic, who operates his own painting company, plans to paint the reconstructed area after the New Year.

He said he didn’t consider moving after the incident.

“It’s very good,” Glavicic said of the finished product. “Everything is beautiful.”

Steve Maynard: 253-597-8647

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