One of Decatur’s best-known citizens was injured when he crashed into a house one block north of the square Tuesday afternoon.
Coy O’Neal was involved in a single-vehicle accident shortly after 2 p.m. Tuesday near the intersection of Trinity and Mill streets. Sgt. Mike Picha with the Decatur Police Department said O’Neal had been in the parking lot on the north side of the Wise Area Relief Mission (WARM) building when he drove his pickup across the sidewalk, struck a guidewire, crossed Trinity Street and then crashed into the front porch of a house across the street.
Picha said O’Neal sustained a cut on his forehead, but his injuries did not appear to be life-threatening. He was taken to Wise Regional Health System in Decatur.
Picha said O’Neal had started backing out of a parking space when another car pulled into the lot. O’Neal pulled forward and then apparently hit the gas pedal instead of the brake.
Rachel Miller and her 3 1/2-month-old son, Blake, were on the couch in the living room of the home and heard squeal of tires and the “boom” of the crash. A concrete porch apparently stopped the pickup’s forward progress just a few feet from the Millers’ living room. The Millers were not injured, and the damage to the home appeared to be fairly minor.
“I thought he was coming in,” Miller said, holding her son and giving him a bottle. “I got up real fast.”
Tuesday was O’Neal’s 80th birthday. He was honored on Sunday for his birthday and for pulling the chains for 65 years on the sidelines of Decatur Eagles football games.