Guests sleeping at a Hamden hotel got an early wake-up call this morning after a man drove his car through the front door and into the lobby.
Driver Corey Merritt was arrested on multiple charges. Witnesses told police his car had been sitting idle for several minutes in the parking lot facing the hotel and that it went across a cementmedian, in between concrete pillars and busted through the glass doors and through the lobby, ramming through the reservation desk and hitting a wall before finally coming to a stop.
The driver, who police believe lives at the hotel, told police he fell asleep at the wheel.
Hamden police and firefighters responded to the hotel at about 3:20 a.m. Firefighters spent about an hour cleaning up some of the damage, including shattered glass strewn on floor and significant damage to the lobby.
No one was hurt.
But, the crash did wake up several guests.
Pictures taken by Jack Pignatello of Bloomfield, New Jersey show where the car finally came to a stop, near the reservation desk. He said it was like a scene straight out of a movie.
"The building shook. I heard it....The woman behind the desk was pretty upset, of course," he said. "It was not your usual stay at a hotel."
Hotel guest Johnny Marion, of Stewart, Virginia, was shocked when he left his room.
"I came out to get a cup of coffee and I was amazed. I can't see how it happened," Marion said. "The car had to come through here and go through the doors. It's a pretty straight shot through there."
Jill Blum, of Peconic, New York, said she was "quite shocked."
"I was just walking my dogs, and I saw the lobby didn’t look like it normally does. I took a closer look and there was quite a bit of damage here," Blum said.
Merritt got out of his car and tried to flee, but didn't make it far, police said.
Police charged Merritt with reckless driving, evading and driving under a suspended license. Investigators don't believe alcohol was a factor.
Firefighters were able to back the car out and it has since been towed.