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Motorist drives vehicle into side of Johnny Carson's boyhood home

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Posted: Tuesday, December 20, 2011 3:08 pm | Updated: 9:00 am, Tue Sep 30, 2014.

It's news anytime a car plows into a home.

When the home is where Johnny Carson grew up, it's even that much more of a story.

View photos here.

That's what happened Tuesday in Norfolk when a motorist's SUV ended up crashed into the side of Carson's boyhood home on South 13th Street.

Norfolk Police Chief Bill Mizner said the late-model SUV was northbound on 13th Street when it crossed over the median, hit a sign in the median, crossed both lanes of southbound 13th Street, jumped the curb and struck the house at 306 S. 13th St., near its front entrance.

Mizner said a canopy on the side of the house was destroyed in the accident.

The SUV was being driven by a man who has not yet been identified. But the driver was transported by ambulance to Faith Regional Health Services in Norfolk, Mizner said. A different police division representative said there were no serious injuries as a result of the accident.

The house was occupied at the time of the accident, but Mizner said he was not aware of anyone else being taken to the hospital because of injuries.

The home is where the late Johnny Carson -- longtime host of "The Tonight Show" on NBC -- spent much of his childhood. Carson grew up in Norfolk and graduated from Norfolk High School before attending the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

It was purchased by two South Dakota investors in early 2003 for $150,000.

After buying the house, Jim Pruett from Brandon S.D. and Rick Runge from Sioux Falls, painted and and repaired it and also sold bits and pieces of plaster and flooring on eBay, an Internet auction site.

At the time, Pruett and Runge approached Carson about buying the home or at least offering input into how the home looked when he lived there. Carson responded, but told them he didn’t really remember what it looked like.

In May of that year, Pruett and Runge put the house up for sale to the public and also tried to sell it to the City of Norfolk — all to no avail.

By November 2003, Pruett and Runge had dropped the price to $119,999.

After Carson died in January 2005, Pruett and Runge listed the house on eBay and it was purchased by Historic Properties, Inc., of Norcross, Ga., which specializes in “acquiring, saving and restoring historic buildings throughout the United States.”  At the time, the selling price was reported as $93,000.

A spokesman for the company said at the time that they intended to use it to pay tribute to the late comedian.

However, since then the home has been rented to private individuals. It was recently put up for sale again.

Carson was born in Corning, Iowa, in 1925. Carson's family moved to Norfolk when he was 8.

© 2015 The Norfolk Daily News . All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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