LAKEWOOD, Ohio — Newly released surveillance video shows how a vehicle went out of control on Thursday afternoon and crashed into the patio of a restaurant in Lakewood, as customers were enjoying lunch.
The video shows a 58-year-old Summit County woman in an SUV backing up in the small parking lot of a bridal shop on Madison Avenue. The vehicle appeared to come into contact with a barrier.
The driver paused for a moment, then lurched forward and slammed into a dumpster. The SUV, along with the dumpster, then crashed through the fence on the patio at Hola Tacos, shoving tables to the other end of the patio and injuring a total of five people.
A 911 caller told a dispatcher, “I’m at Madison and Hopkins Avenue at Hola Tacos. There’s a white car that drove through the patio portion, I don’t see anyone acutely hurt, but I think we’ll need an ambulance and the police there as well.”
Lakewood Police said four of the victims were taken to local hospitals and later released. Investigators were surprised to learn that the injuries consisted of scrapes, bumps, bruises, a possible concussion and a foot injury. They call it a miracle.
LPD Captain William Albrecht told Fox 8, “When I heard what happened and then when I saw what happened, my first instinct was to think there’s no way we don’t have somebody seriously hurt or maybe killed out of this. And when I heard from the officers that responded to the scene, ‘No, everyone is going to be okay, they’re going to go to the hospital and get checked out, but we don’t have anything serious that happened,’ I couldn’t believe it. Seeing just how graphic that video really was, seeing that car drive through that fence.”
Investigators said it appears the driver panicked after her initial mistake of backing into the barrier. Then as she was going forward, she confused the brake pedal with the gas pedal.
“I think the biggest thing is don’t panic, something goes wrong, don’t look to fix it right away by making a worse move than what you’ve already done,” Captain Albrecht said.
Police said it does not appear the driver was impaired in any way, and because the accident happened on private property, there is a possibility that the driver will not be cited by police.
“We don’t have any reason to believe of course that this was an intentional act, nor do we have any reason to believe this person was under the influence of drugs or alcohol, which takes down the culpability of it a little bit, so we might just have a simple crash, a simple accident,” Captain Albrecht said.