After a man charged with drunken driving smashed into their home on Jan. 24, the Voorhees Family, who lived on the 7000 block of Stephenson Avenue, has established a GoFundMe to garner funds for a new place to live.
Though it has only been a few days since the accident, their GoFundMe has already made $350 of a $2,000 goal. Given the damage to the house, it was condemned, with all of the family’s possessions being placed in a storage pod for the time being.
Macayla Vorhees, the matriarch of the family, felt this might happen when the family moved into the house three years ago, since it rests alongside the LaSalle Expressway, which Stephenson Avenue runs parallel to. While it was just a feeling, she was shocked to see it become a reality.
“When we moved in there three years ago, it was right under the LaSalle Expressway, so we always had this fear that what if a drunk driver ran off the LaSalle Expressway and our room was in the back bedroom,” Voorhees said. “We were always scared that was going to happen, that way. And, that was the irony of it because it didn’t happen that way and our fear came true. Our 3-year-old was woken up. It sounded like a bomb had gone off when the car hit the front of the house.”
Voorhees added it was lucky the driver didn’t go any further into their home since he was half a foot away from the gas meters, which could have exploded. They have received $800 from the Red Cross, but a security deposit and first month’s rent will cost much more. She has been staying with her parents with other family members taking in their kids to keep them safe.
For the time being, Voorhees has been collecting unemployment since the pandemic forced her to leave her job last year. Prior to the pandemic, she worked at a home care facility, but left when the pandemic began due to her kids being immune compromised with asthma. Ryan Guido, her fiancée, owns a recording studio in Erie County, which has not been operable for much of the last year.
“It’s such a tragedy that one person’s poor mistakes of getting behind the wheel and being intoxicated can ruin a whole family’s life in a second,” Voorhees said. “The trauma, the heartache, the insecurity of not being safe in your home. Your home is supposed to be your safe haven and we definitely did not feel safe that night. I think it’s going to take a while and counseling to get back to being normal again. This a huge rut in the plan of life that wasn’t planned for our family.”
She is grateful for all the people helping her though this time, as well as those donating to her GoFundMe, which can be found by searching for Macayla Vorhees.