Drunk Driver Slams Into Elderly Widower's Northeast Philadelphia Home: Police

An elderly widower is dealing with two tragedies after an alleged drunk driver slammed into his home, causing it to catch fire only about a week after his wife of nearly 60 years died of breast cancer. 

"We buried my wife on August the 4th at Veterans Cemetery in Newtown," said 84-year-old Carmen Adamo. "And here's only five days later, this happens." 

Police say Catherine Ryan, 34, was driving on Benton Avenue towards Bustleton Avenue around 12:10 a.m. Monday. She then lost control of her vehicle and slammed into Adamo's home on the 8600 block of Bustleton Avenue, police said. 

The crash sent most of the sedan into the single-story brick home and also caused the house to catch fire.

“We all came out and we saw the car almost fully inside the home of my next door neighbor and smoke coming out from all over,” said Jay Ramschandran. “It was bad smoke coming out… it was the most horrible thing.”

Adamo, who was sitting in the upstairs living room, was jolted from his seat during the crash. 

"Dust, dirt, glass flying and it knocked me right out of the seat," Adamo said. "When it knocked me out of the seat I hit a table with my knee. And apparently I got cut with flying glass." 

Adamo, a former Philadelphia Police officer, Air Force and Navy veteran was rescued from a rear window by first responders. He was taken to Nazareth Hospital where he was treated for scrapes and bruises. 

Ryan was trapped in her car but was freed by a passerby. She was taken to Aria Torresdale Hospital where she was treated for minor bumps and bruises. She was then arrested and charged with DUI, simple assault, recklessly endangering another person and criminal mischief. 

Adamo, who is currently living with his sister in Levittown as insurance companies work to determine if he can return to his home, told NBC10 he's convinced he survived because his wife was looking down on him. 

"I'm heartbroken," he said. "Because I don't need this at this time in my life to be forced out of my own house." 

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