As diners were enjoying dinner at an outdoors Los Angeles sidewalk cafe, a van jumped the curb and plowed into them. At least eight are hurt and the authorities are calling it an accident. This happened Sunday afternoon. After jumping the curb, the van careened into the diners outside of The Fish Spot restaurant in the city’s Mid-Wilshire neighborhood. I have dined there myself.
The van mowed down a white picket fence, which served as a barrier between diners and pedestrians on the sidewalk. “Everyone was eating, enjoying life and out of nowhere this van ran them over,” Courtney Crump said. “I heard loud, agonizing screams. I’m shook up,” he said. A number of people were pinned under the van. I can’t imagine that scene. It’s too horrific to contemplate.
Some people were said to be lying with broken limbs, while another bled profusely from his head under pieces of furniture and fencing. He had been dining with his 10 year-old daughter, who was not injured in the incident. Neighbors rushed out of their homes into the street, some bursting into tears when they saw what happened. Bystanders were running around and screaming. “It was scary and sad to see the people in pain,” said 15 year-old Andy Hernandez, who rushed to the restaurant on his skateboard after hearing a loud boom. “It was shocking.”
The victims involved included a 44 year-old man who is now in critical condition, three who were seriously injured and four others who are in fair condition. One man had severe head injuries. All have been taken to a hospital and are expected to survive. An off-duty firefighter was in the crowd, but did not get injured. He did however help with the wounded. The victims included five men and three women — ranging in age from 18 to 51.
As the driver jumped out of the van, he appeared disoriented, but he was not allowed to flee the scene. He jumped back in to take off and witnesses held him until the authorities could arrive and arrest him. Evidently, he also tried to flee on foot, but people blocked him from doing so and he didn’t get very far. The cause of the crash is still under investigation. Right now, Los Angeles police spokesman Josh Rubenstein says the crash appears to be an accident, adding that there was no indication the driver intentionally drove into the crowd. But we all know that can change.
The driver has now been arrested on suspicion of hit-and-run. Police Sgt. C. Barlow says the driver, whose name has not been released yet, blew a red light Sunday afternoon and struck another car at an intersection. She said the impact caused the van to careen into the sidewalk where people were eating. What an awful thing to happen on a sunny Sunday afternoon… just out of nowhere.