Teen Driver Accused of Drunken Driving After Crashing Into Fullerton Home

Witnesses said the driver was "drifting" and racing up and down the winding road

By Melissa Pamer and Jane Yamamoto
|  Saturday, Mar 16, 2013  |  Updated 9:44 PM PDT
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An 18-year-old motorist was arrested on suspicion of driving drunk after he allegedly crashed his car into a house in Fullerton. Jane Yamamoto reports for the NBC4 News at 6 p.m. on Saturday, March 16, 2013.

Jane Yamamoto and Mike Tauber

An 18-year-old motorist was arrested on suspicion of driving drunk after he allegedly crashed his car into a house in Fullerton. Jane Yamamoto reports for the NBC4 News at 6 p.m. on Saturday, March 16, 2013.

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A teen driver screeched down a curving roadway and crashed through a gated home on Friday in Fullerton where he was booked into jail on suspicion of driving drunk, police and witnesses said.

The 18-year-old driver, identified as Austin Paulus, who suffered minor injuries, was booked into the Los Angeles County Jail and later bailed out, said Lt. Mike Chlebowski of the Fullerton Police Department.

He is accused of being behind the wheel of a Subaru sedan that lost control, skidded through a metal gate and into a garage at midnight in the 2200 block of Skyline Drive (map).

"It sounded like the world was ending," homeowner Chris Penfield said. "I went outside and found a car sticking in my garage."

The driver and passenger got out of the car apologized profusely, Penfield said. They told Penfield they had been at a party.

"The passenger must have apologized to me 20 times," Penfield said. "They were quite upset. The driver ... he was really worried about his car more than anything else.

"I told him, 'You're lucky it's just the car and not you.'"

Video from the scene showed the car's bumper had come off in the home's driveway, which was littered with debris.

Witnesses said they saw the car driving up and down the hillside street and "drifting" and screeching before the crash.

"It’s a very hilly area, windy, kind of a rural type area," Penfield said. "We get lots and lots of high-schoolers, 18-year-olds … drinking, speeding around like they're in a race car."

Penfield said he had heard from neighbors that a fatal crash occurred at the same location about two decades earlier, before he owned the home. That could not be verified in police records, Chlebowski said.

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