SAN JOSE -- Two 17-year-old boys suspected of speeding down Leigh Avenue on Wednesday afternoon and causing a collision that sent one of the cars crashing into a home and critically injuring a woman were arrested on suspicion of reckless driving and released to their parents, according to San Jose police.
Because both suspects are juveniles, police did not release their names. The 40-year-old woman who lives in the 5400 block of Leigh Avenue suffered life-threatening injuries when the speeding BMW smashed deep into her house around 4 p.m. Wednesday, causing part of the home to collapse and briefly trap her 9-year-old daughter in the rubble. Police on Thursday said the woman is in stable condition and expected to survive. Her daughter sustained minor injuries when she was pulled from the wreckage, according to residents who rushed to the scene and got the girl out before rescue workers arrived.
Bob Citelli, a neighbor who lives a few doors down from the crash scene, was among the first people at the scene. Citelli went inside the house with retired Palo Alto police officer Lou Soliz and said the room was filled with debris.
"You could walk into the living room," Citelli said. "The whole front of the house was disintegrated."
Three people in a silver BMW were also hospitalized with less severe injuries. Citelli said he saw one of them kneeling on the front lawn, bleeding profusely.
Police said the drivers of the two cars were arrested for reckless driving resulting in a major injury, a felony charge.
Police say a silver BMW and a red BMW were "traveling at a high rate of speed" and collided on Leigh at Anne Way, sending the silver BMW into the home, located on the corner of the intersection. There were no passengers in the red BMW.
Citelli is one of several neighbors who said speeding and reckless driving along Leigh Avenue have been problematic, specifically from students at Leigh High School, located about one block away from the scene of the crash. Citelli and other neighbors said they've seen and heard students doing doughnuts in the school parking lot and speeding down Leigh Avenue.
"They are doing ridiculous things in the streets and terrorizing homeowners," Citelli said.
Citelli said he complained to school administrators last year and was told he could stand outside the school, write down license plate numbers of students driving recklessly and turn them in to school administrators.
"I said last year it's only a matter of time when a kid loses control and hurts an innocent bystander," Citelli said.
Leigh High School referred all questions about students and their driving to the Campbell Union High School District office. District officials could not be reached Thursday for comment.
Other residents said they have approached police to increase enforcement in the area, but were told that was not possible due to staffing reductions.
According to San Jose police, traffic enforcers have been cut by 13 positions from last year and now number 17 officers. The city is divided into six traffic zones, and the one that contains the area where the crash occurred is not considered a particular "hot spot" for collisions. Last month, the area produced 19 percent of the city's injury accidents, and traffic officers there issued 22 percent of total citations.
Neighbor Sharon Kirk, 44, dropped by the accident scene Thursday morning and dropped a bouquet of flowers in the front walkway. Kirk, who has a 7-year-old daughter and 14-year-old son, said she did not know the family but wanted to deliver the freshly picked flowers "just to let them know we're all thinking of them."
Kirk described the intersection of Leigh and Anne as a "nightmare." She said a crosswalk with flashing lights was installed on Leigh at Anne about a year ago but the area remains a problem.
Citelli was more forceful with his description of reckless drivers using Leigh as a speedway.
"Every day that school is in you can see kids racing along Leigh," Citelli said. "It's just tragic. You can't even sit in your home and watch TV. You're not safe. That's what it comes down to."
Anyone with information regarding the above case is urged to contact the San Jose Police Department's Traffic Investigation's Unit at 408-277-4654. Those wishing to provide information anonymously may call Silicon Valley Crime Stoppers at 408-947-STOP (7867) or may visit http://www.tipsubmit.org/ and may be eligible for a reward.
Contact Mark Gomez at 408-920-5869. Follow him on Twitter @MarkMgomez