A parked SUV was pushed through the entrance of Piccolo's Ristorante after a driver accidentally hit the gas instead of the brake in the parking lot.
A driver hit a curb turning into Piccolo's Ristorante at 5703 Evers and accidentally slammed on the gas instead of the brake, sending a parked car crashing through the restaurant's entrance Friday night.
The driver was taken to a hospital by her husband as a precaution but officials on the scene said no one was hurt. Clark Royston, the owner of the parked car, was just about to leave after having dinner with his wife and brother to celebrate paying off the mortgage of a commercial property he owns.
"We were parked in the first stall and we had just got up because crowds were starting to come in," said Royston. "All of a sudden just 'Boom!' I knew at that exact moment that a car had gone through the building. I just didn't know it was my car."
"I thought it was the wine shelf falling but it kept on going and going," said Patrick Vance, a Piccolo's employee. "I looked over and there was guy who was at the counter and he was trying to defend himself with a menu which really didn't work too well."
Royston's car smashed through the glass entrance door and was somewhat slowed by a large fountain in the entrance. The impact was felt throughout the restaurant.
"All of a sudden we heard 'Boom!' and trying to figure out what is was," said Cean Garcia who was sitting in back of the restaurant. "My wife thought it was a shelf but I said, 'No, it's something a little more than just a shelf.'"
As a tow truck pulled the driver's van from Royston's vehicle, pieces of a wheelchair lift crumbled off his back bumper. His brother, visiting from Wisconsin to avoid the harsh weather, has muscular dystrophy and uses a motorized wheelchair to get around.
"My biggest worry is I don't have a vehicle tomorrow to tow him around," said Royston. "We had the nice lift on the back. It's gone, it's disintegrated."
Firefighters installed extra support posts to shore up the damaged entrance. Piccolo's owner said they'll have the damage looked at Saturday by their insurance but expect to open for dinner at 5 p.m. Saturday.