A New Hampshire man has been arrested after crashing into a Salem home, seriously injuring a young girl who was inside at the time.
The crash happened Saturday afternoon on Silver Brook Road. A speeding SUV catapulted a granite mailbox post into the home, knocking it off its foundation before the vehicle came to rest on a tree.
Days later, the path of destruction was still visible.
Thirty-seven-year-old Scott Dowd of Salem was arrested Tuesday, police said. Charges against him include driving while intoxicated causing serious bodily injury, first-degree assault on a victim under 13 causing serious bodily injury and three counts of reckless conduct with a deadly weapon.
The father of the 5-year-old girl who was injured recalled the terrifying moments when he thought the child had died.
"I saw the glass door just shoot across the room," said Joe Tutrone, who was in the home with his young children when he heard the impact and ran to his son and daughter playing in a front room.
"He said, 'I don't know, I don't know Daddy, the house blew up and Giuliana's dead,' and I turned around and I couldn't even see her because she was covered in so much sheet rock," said Tutrone.
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Tutrone grabbed 5-year-old Giuliana, who was bleeding badly from the neck and face, and ran outside hysterical.
"The father ran out with the daughter in his arms screaming that 'He just killed my little girl,'" said Scott Demers, who was working at a neighbor's home at the time and ran over to help. "The father put her down on the lawn and I took off my shirt and put it around her neck and there was very significant damage to her neck."
Demers, who has no medical training, was able to keep Giuliana conscious and alert, while keeping pressure on her wound until an ambulance arrived and took her to the hospital.
She was airlifted to Tufts Medical Center in Boston, and after emergency surgery, Demers learned he had helped save her life.
"It was an emotional conversation, and he said, 'She's going to make it,' so that – that meant a lot," said Demers.
"It's all that matters," Tutrone said. "I look at all this damage to my house and I don't care, just the fact that she's alive is just amazing to me."
Dowd will be arraigned at a future date at Rockingham Superior Court, police said Tuesday.