Vehicle crashes into DC restaurant’s outdoor seating area; at least 8 hurt, officials say
One person has died and at least ten people have been injured after an SUV crashed into a restaurant’s outdoor seating area in Northwest Washington, DC.
The crash, believed to have been an accident, took place around lunchtime on Friday on Connecticut Avenue.
DC Fire and Emergency Medical Services Department spokesman Vito Maggiolo said eight people, including the person who died, were taken to hospital.
He added that four people were in a critical condition and that three people received care at the scene for minor injuries, The Washington Post reported.
According to police, the crash happened at around 12.15pm. The stretch of Connecticut Avenue where the incident occurred is lined with restaurants, shops, and is often busy with a high number of pedestrians and vehicles.
Fire officials said the Parthenon greek restaurant suffered no structural damage and that no one was trapped.
DC Police said the incident is being investigated as an accident and that the crash doesn’t appear to have been intentional.
The SUV ended up blocking part of the wide sidewalk, coming to a stop partially underneath the restaurant’s blue awning at its entrance.
The vehicle also appeared to have struck the entrance to a dry cleaner, with shattered potted plants and broken chairs covering the pavement.
Becky Pulles and Christian Borjas were sitting outside a Starbucks about 75 feet (23 metres) away.
Ms Pulles told The Post that the car “suddenly accelerated” and that “it looked like someone hit the accelerator instantly. It was going super-fast, like police-car fast”.
They said the car went over a curb and crashed straight into people sitting at tables outside the restaurant.
“It was horrific,” Ms Pulles added.
Mr Borjas, a nurse from California, sprinted over to help. He told the paper that he and other bystanders lifted the vehicle off of an injured woman and pulled her away from the car. He opened the door for the driver to exit the vehicle. He estimated that he was around 80 years old.
“He walked out. He was scared. You could tell it wasn’t intentional,” Mr Borjas told The Post. Police also said that the driver was elderly.
The vice chair of the Advisory Neighborhood Commission for Chevy Chase, Lisa Gore, said, “Connecticut Avenue is where we come to work and play and live.”
“My heart goes out to the community. We pray for everyone who is involved,” she added.
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