Suspect in deadly crash has a checkered past

A deadly crash killed the sister of a WAAY 31 employee and now we're learning more about the suspect's past.

Posted: Nov 25, 2018 6:35 PM
Updated: Nov 26, 2018 11:34 AM

Huntsville Police are waiting for the results of a toxicology report to see what, if anything, a driver may have been on when he smashed through the wall of a house and killed a woman.

That crash happened Saturday night on Riverchase Road and killed Joy Vaughn, 48, of Huntsville.

Gary Swearengin and his wife were watching college football when they heard a loud thump outside.

"I thought something had exploded in my garage, so I went to the garage and there wasn't anything in there. I come out and I see this," said Gary Swearengin.

When Swearengin walked outside, he saw a truck that had crashed into his neighbor’s home on Riverchase Road. That’s when he and his wife called 911.

"I came back over here and that's when I climbed over the truck's bed. I couldn't get pass all the debris to get to Joy," Swearengin said.

Huntsville Police said Antony Wu was the driver of the 1996 Dodge Ram that had crashed. Swearengin told WAAY 31 Wu had blood on his face and would not get out of the truck. Police said they believe Wu was driving under the influence. Police were able to take a blood sample from Wu and are waiting on those results.

"When police got there, they had to break the window to get it unlocked and they grabbed him. He fought them all the way to the ground and to the ambulance," Swearengin said.

WAAY 31 spoke to Wu’s brother. He didn't want to talk on camera, but he said on Saturday night Wu got into an argument with their mother and threatened to set the house on fire. Wu’s brother said he even poured gasoline inside the house and took a fire axe to his mom's safe and stole her keys to the Dodge Ram.

Huntsville Police said the wreck happened when Wu hit a parked truck in a driveway along Chaney Thompson Road. Police said he then hit a fence, and bush, before crashing into Joy Vaughn’s bedroom at the home on Riverchase Road.

"My thoughts are with the family. I feel like I should have done more," Swearengin said.

Right now, a tarp covers the hole of that home where the bedroom once stood.

WAAY 31 learned from Wu’s brother that he’s only been back in Huntsville for the last four months. According to his brother, five years ago Wu moved to Taiwan for a fresh start. We checked, and court records show Wu has a record for domestic violence, unauthorized use of vehicle and fraud with checks.

This story hit close to home for WAAY 31. Joy Vaughn is the sister of one of our employees. We want to express our deepest sympathies to the Vaughn family.

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