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Late-night crash into home kills driver, Evansville pair

– Susan Keck wasn’t sure whether her father, Harold Meriwether, would want to see what remained of his brother’s home after a truck crashed through it early Sunday with deadly results.

“I guess it was something that he needed for closure, but it was very sad and hard to do, but we did it because we wanted to be there for him,” Keck said.

Homer Meriwether, 75, and his wife, 74-year-old Lela, were asleep in their bedroom when a truck driven by 24-year-old Thomas Hodgson of Newburgh crashed through their home, which sits on a sharp curve just before 3 a.m. Sunday. All three were killed at the scene.

According to the initial crash report from the Evansville Police Department, Hodgson, a 2007 Castle High School graduate, lost control of his 1996 Chevrolet pickup while going east on Riverside Drive. The truck flew over the guardrail before hitting the house with so much force that it went through the bedroom and back out into the yard.

Keck, of Carmi, Ill., extended sympathy to Hodgson’s family.

“I feel for the other family, too, because they have lost too, and besides they know that he killed two people,” she said. “It’s probably harder for them than it is for us. It’s just sad.”

A phone call to the number listed for Hodgson’s residence Monday was passed to a woman who identified herself as Hodgson’s aunt. She said the family offers their condolences to the Meriwether family as well and that her nephew would be devastated if he knew what happened.

“Thomas, he was a very, very good young man. He worked two jobs, took care of his mother,” the woman said, her voice trailing off. “This is just a tragic, tragic thing that happened.”

An investigation into the crash could take a few weeks, said Sgt. Jason Cullum of the Evansville Police Department. The initial report noted there was ice on the road when the crash occurred, but only lists the cause as “running off the road.” Toxicology reports are due back in three weeks.

Keck described the Meriwethers as “a great aunt and uncle who lived a happy life. Keck said Homer and Lela Meriwether had been together since their high school years – during which they even let Harold Meriwether tag along on some of their dates.

“My dad says he hardly remembers life without Lela in it,” Keck said.