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Northwest Indiana man says he was lucky not to be sitting where car plowed into his house

Tesla crashes into home in Northwest Indiana
Tesla crashes into home in Northwest Indiana 01:48

CROWN POINT, Ind. (CBS) -- A Northwest Indiana homeowner said Tuesday night that if he had been in the basement when a Tesla crashed into his home, he would be dead now.

As CBS 2's Marybel González reported, the car landed on Robert Panozzo's couch – where he usually sits.

A last-minute decision possibly saved Panozzo from being struck or killed by the car.

"I took a nap that day. It was either go in the garage and do woodwork or go downstairs and watch TV," Panozzo said. "If I would've gone downstairs, I'd be dead. The Tesla landed on my La-Z-Boy."

That is because, on Sunday morning, a Tesla crashed into the basement of Panozzo's home in Lakes of the Four Seasons just outside Crown Point. He didn't see it happen, but he did feel it.

"I opened the door to go downstairs, and my house was filled with smoke," he said. "I knew something exploded inside my house. I didn't know what it was. Went downstairs, saw a Tesla and two young adults."

Panozzo said the driver was arrested for driving under the influence. DUI is also how he thinks something like this could have happened.

"There's a curb leading to the house," he said. "There's no reason a vehicle should've gone 200 yards off that curb and into my house."

The incident has forced Panozzo to stay at a hotel – and it could be up to 14 months before he can move back in.

"My backyard, my garden, is everything to me," he said. "It's all gone now – at least for this season. Maybe next season."

Panozzo is shaken but not angry – and he has a message for those involved.

"I've learned from my mistakes," he said. "Hopefully, these two young adults will as well."

Panozzo said luckily, no one was seriously injured. CBS News Chicago did reach out to Crown Point police to get an update on the case, and we are waiting to hear back.

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