LEWISTON – Two men escaped with minor injuries Friday night when the SUV they were riding in struck a house and flipped at Oxford and Lincoln streets.

The driver of the vehicle was charged with drunken driving.

Police said Kevin Lawlor, 28, of Auburn was driving at the end of Oxford Street, nearing Lincoln, when he lost control and flipped the vehicle.

Lawlor was taken to Central Maine Medical Center where he was examined for neck and back pain and later released. He was arrested on a probation hold and summoned on charges of driving while intoxicated and driving with a suspended license.

The owner of the Ford Explorer, 44-year-old Dennis Gilbert of Lewiston, was treated for a cut hand.

A woman taking care of eight children inside the house near the corner shuffled the kids to safety after the Ford Explorer slammed into the corner of the building.

“The whole house shook,” said Heather Moody, who was inside with the children. None of them were hurt.

Other neighbors went to the scene after hearing what they thought was an explosion as the Explorer flipped onto its side.

“We thought it was a bomb,” said Jessica Higgins, who lives nearby. “It shook our whole house.”

“I heard this big bang,” said Hellen St. Pierre. “I thought it was my landlord working in the basement.”

When neighbors arrived at the scene, the two men inside the vehicle were climbing out. Early reports were that the vehicle had burst into flames, but witnesses said they saw no fire when they arrived.

The windshield popped out as the vehicle rolled onto the passenger side and at least one air bag deployed.

“You just don’t see that kind of thing every day,” said Reginald Emery III, who ran over to the corner after hearing the vehicle crash.

The crash remained under investigation late Friday night.


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