RENO, Nev. (AP) — The driver of an SUV that tore through a Reno house, killing two young children inside before ending up in the backyard, was involved in a traffic accident two years ago after he suffered a medical episode, police said Tuesday.
Sheldon Berg, 66, is cooperating with investigators as they try to piece together what happened in the moments before Monday’s wreck, which claimed the lives of a 2-year-old boy and 4-year-old girl, police spokesman Tim Broadway said.
Witnesses described seeing the SUV fly through an intersection before blasting into the home.
“It was like a sonic boom going off,” neighbor Conley Davis told The Associated Press on Tuesday. “By the time I got out here, there was just a big puff of smoke and debris. And then I heard a woman screaming in there for her babies. I’ve never seen anything like that poor woman.”
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No charges have been filed, and neither drugs nor alcohol appear to have played a role, Broadway said. However, investigators are looking into the possibility Berg, of Reno, experienced a medical event.
“It has been discovered through the course of the ongoing investigation that the driver was involved in an accident in Reno in 2013 after he suffered an unknown medical episode,” Broadway said.
In that crash, Berg struck two unoccupied vehicles and was the only one injured, Broadway said. He had no further details.
No phone listing could be found for Berg. Broadway said he believes Berg has contacted a lawyer, but no lawyer has spoken to police, which he said is not unusual given it is “pretty early still in the investigation.”
The names of the victims in the latest wreck have not been released. Their mother and a young female relative also were in the home at the time but escaped injury. Berg was treated for minor injuries at a hospital.
Witnesses say the SUV was traveling at high speed when the crash happened around noon Monday in a modest, working-class neighborhood about a mile south of downtown.
The vehicle didn’t slow before plowing through a T-intersection and through the house.
“He was going like a bat out of hell,” said Davis, who was getting ready to watch a replay of NBA championship highlights in his living room when he caught a glimpse of the SUV. “I thought to myself, ‘There’s no way this guy is going to make the corner.'”
Lidia Correa was among those who dropped off flowers Tuesday at a makeshift memorial in the driveway in front of the boarded-up former garage that had been converted into a bedroom. She said she lives down the street but doesn’t know the family well.
“I drive by all the time and see the kids playing in the yard,” Correa said. “It’s very, very sad.”
Davis has lived in the same house next door since 1978. He said everyone in the neighborhood is searching for answers.
“You see the kids out here every day, pushing each other in a cart and playing with toy cars,” he said. “They say if it’s your time, it’s your time. But geez, that ain’t the best time to be your time when you are 2.”