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A local family had the scare of a lifetime on Saturday evening when their truck’s brakes failed, causing it to crash into the wall of a Waverly apartment building.

Amanda Miller, of Tripoli, says her family was returning from a dinner at Sasquatch Jack’s, where they had gone to celebrate the upcoming 18th birthday of their son, Tristan, when the accident happened.

It is a tradition in the Miller family to have Amanda’s parents, Susan and John Disrud, take the grandkids to their favorite eateries for their respective birthdays, so on Saturday, the grandparents honored Tristan’s wishes ahead of his Dec. 3 birthday to treat everyone at the Waverly restaurant.

After the dinner, they headed to the grandparents’ house.

Two of the Miller kids — Alizah, 10, and Dalton, 12, — went with the grandparents and Amanda followed in the family 2006 Ford F-150, with her husband, Keith, in the passenger’s seat, and in the back, Tristan and his 11-month-old baby brother, Nico.

Amanda said she felt the brakes give out, so she had to make a split-second decision — divert the truck or hit the line of cars that had formed in front of her waiting for the light to change.

“I kept pumping but nothing was happening, so to avoid hitting the line of vehicles stopped, we turned and slammed into a building,” she said in an email to the paper.

The truck hit the water meter at the apartment building at 423 W. Bremer Ave., where Kat Davis, a mother of two, was cooking with her daughter for a planned get together on Sunday.

Davis was caught off guard by the thud of the impact, and briefly thought it might have been a thunder, as it had been raining on and off during the day. But then, she decided to check things out.

When Davis stepped out on the porch and saw the extent of the damage, her first worry was the welfare of the truck’s occupants. She breathed a sigh of relief when she realized that no one was hurt.

In the meantime, Amanda had called 911 at 5:31 p.m., and officers had arrived at the scene as did the ambulance. Amanda wanted first responders to check the baby, who was firmly and properly set and strapped in his car seat.

Little Nico did a little crying, most likely from the suddenness of the jolt, but did not have any marks from the straps. And just to reassure his parents that he was OK, he fell asleep while they dealt with the aftermath of the accident.

“My main blessing is having my son buckled up in the car seat properly,” Amanda said.

Since the truck hit the water meter, a pipe broke, and Keith, who is a plumber by trade and works for Crystal Plumbing and Heating in Waverly, went to the basement to shut off the water.

The accident caused an estimated damage of $20,000, according to police records.

Rich Pursell, Waverly’s police chief, said that it is important for drivers to use seat belts and to buckle kids properly.

“One of the old mottoes for our STEP program is, ‘Every trip, every time,’ and that would be applicable to your short distances,” he said. “The majority of accidents happen within a small radius of your home, not the long distances, so buckle up every trip every time.”

He added that the hospital and the police department have programs where staff can evaluate and train parents on how to properly buckle their children.

“I know it can be confusing, with the age and the weight, but all they have to do is give us or the hospital a call,” Pursell said.

Amanda says her shoulder was bit bruised but that’s nothing compared to what could have been a much more serious accident, especially if she had gone into the car line.

“We are so fortunate that everyone is fine and there was nobody else involved in it,” she said.