PLANTATION, Fla. – A motorist attempting to park at a busy South Florida restaurant crashed into the building on Friday, injuring 20 people and sending nine of them to the hospital, authorities said.
The driver, who has not been identified, crashed into the Thai Meal restaurant at the Jacaranda Plaza in Plantation, the Sun-Sentinel reported.
According to Lt. Aston Bright, a spokesperson for the Plantation Fire Department, initial 911 calls came in shortly after 6:30 p.m. EDT, the newspaper reported. Bright said the restaurant was crowded at the height of the dinner hour.
Angel Soler, who was among the injured, said a Nissan Altima crashed through the restaurant’s window, WPLG-TV reported. The restaurant patron said the crashing vehicle “sounded like an explosion.”
“There was a lot of screaming,” Soler told the television station. “There was a lot of shouting. Everybody was trying to see if there was anybody under the car.”
Shanique Castro, 33, of Plantation, told the Sun-Sentinel she had parked in front of the restaurant with her sister and two children minutes before the crash happened. They did not immediately exit the vehicle because they were scanning the restaurant’s menu online, she told the newspaper.
Castro said the red Nissan Altima, which was next to her, swerved onto the sidewalk.
“I guess she was trying to stop and reverse, and instead of that happening, she ended up pushing right into the restaurant,” Castro told the newspaper.
In a video Castro posted on social media, the woman said the motorist “looked like she was trying to stop, but then she put her foot on the gas and went flying in there.”
“This is ridiculously crazy,” Castro said.
“It was an extremely dangerous situation,” Bright told WPLG. “As far as we know, the driver was trying to park the car and somehow crashed into the building.”
An investigation is ongoing, police said.