Brian Fish, Medford Fire Department battalion chief, walks on the far side of a garage damaged by an out of control car. The car on the left crossed several yards on Medford's Mira Mar Ave. and crashed through the garage and into wall of the house on the other side. Bob Pennell / Mail Tribune photo - Bob Pennell

Car careens through neighborhood

An 89-year-old woman was hospitalized Wednesday after crashing her BMW through a southeast Medford garage and slamming into a nearby house.

Madeline Bell was driving in the 1000 block of Mira Mar Avenue when she suddenly lost control of her car while rounding a curve, Medford Master Police Officer Mark Patterson said.

Instead of slowing down her BMW, witnesses along the normally quiet residential avenue say the car picked up speed as it left the road and crossed into a yard.

"Some witnesses told us she might have been traveling between 70 and 90 mph when she left the road," Patterson said. "It's a good thing no one was standing in their yard or on the sidewalk."

The BMW struck the curb and bounced into Harry Fuhrman's yard, nearly missing his Honda Accord parked in his driveway.

"She came within a foot of my car," Fuhrman said. "I don't know how she missed it."

The BMW blazed across the yard and ramped off a retaining wall separating Fuhrman's property from his neighbor's.

The car cleared nearly 20 feet of grass without leaving a track before plowing into a garage and exploding through the other side, pushing out a Honda parked within.

Both cars smashed a adjoining house and came to rest amid a heap of wood, insulation and tools ripped from the garage.

"It sounded like a house was collapsing," Fuhrman said. "I thought that's what it was until I saw the cars."

Witnesses said Bell was speaking clearly and answering questions when paramedics arrived. She told them she kept pressing her car's brakes, but they failed.

Bell was taken to Providence Medical Center in Medford for non-life threatening injuries, police said.

Fuhrman said the neighborhood constantly is plagued by cars speeding around the curve. His car was hit last year by an out-of-control car. Neighbors at the scene said it is unwise to park you car along the road at any time.

"I park my car in that particular spot in my driveway because it will block a car heading toward my house," he said. "We are changing bedrooms because it would be in line with a car that runs off the road and crosses our yard."

Reach reporter Chris Conrad at 776-4471; or e-mail

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