S U N N Y V A L E, Calif., Jan. 13, 2004 -- As Matthew Wahlgren watched his living room crumble to pieces, the 22-year-old figured a huge earthquake had rocked all of San Francisco — until he noticed the Pontiac parked next to him.
"All of a sudden I hear this loud crash, and to me it felt like a 10.0 earth quake and I look over and there's a guy sitting in a car next to me," Wahlgren said on ABCNEWS Good Morning America.
The University of California San Francisco student said he was checking his e-mail in his living room just after 3 a.m. Monday morning when a gray Pontiac Grand Am came crashing through the wall.
Wahlgren said he became really upset once he realized what happened. "At first, I was so shocked and scared. You don't think that a car would run right through your living room. Then after that, I got really upset. I was yelling and screaming."
Wahlgren's mother called 911 and his brother Steven turned off the car, which had still been running.
Authorities say the driver, a 50-year-old local hospital employee, fell asleep at the wheel of the Pontiac before it crashed into Wahlgren's home.
The family said the driver remained passed out in the driver's seat immediately after the crash. When he awoke, they said he got out of the car, then once he realized what he had done he got onto his knees, begging for forgiveness.
Wahlgren, on winter break from school, says he feels lucky to be alive since at that hour he is usually asleep on a futon that was destroyed in the crash. Wahlgren, who suffered only minor cuts on his face and arms, says his early morning urge to check his e-mail ended up saving his life.
Other family members were uninjured in the incident. But his brother Steven and girlfriend LeAnne were startled when they woke up to find the bedroom wall closing in on their bed after the crash.
Matthew's mother and father, Juliana and Clay, said it took them awhile to figure out what had happened through the noise and smoke."My eyes saw a car but my brain did not compute," Clay Wahlgren said. "My house was not supposed to be a drive-up window for McDonald's."
Authorities said the driver was not injured and he was released at the scene.
The holes in the Wahlgren home have been temporarily patched up, but it has suffered heavy damage and needs major repairs.