One woman was killed and seven other people injured on Sunday when a driver accelerated into an outdoor dining area outside a popular dim sum restaurant in the Bay Area and threw his SUV several seat parties.
According to the Bay Area News Group, the crash was reported in the parking lot of Grand Century Mall in San Jose at 12:27 p.m. on October 11 when a 69-year-old male driver slammed behind the wheel of a 2000 Toyota 4Runner, KRON 4 reported that three women and five men – “all seated at different tables” while eating outside of Dynasty Chinese, a popular eatery known for its seafood and dim sum menus.
The vehicle plows into an outdoor dining area in San Jose near Story Road and McLaughlin.
According to police, at least 8 people were hospitalized with injuries. pic.twitter.com/bVrvSMyXQu
– Marianne Favro (@mariannefavro) October 11, 2020
According to KPIX, the restaurant had not applied to the San Jose Al Fresco Dining Program for al fresco dining, even though the application process is “virtually automatic”.
The surveillance video of the scene shows how the SUV drives over a sidewalk and a median, over four lanes, over another median and a sidewalk and into the tent-dining area, which was apparently not protected by additional barriers. Nanci Klein, director of the San Jose Economic Development Bureau, says the city provides barriers to restaurants that expand into sidewalks or parking lots, but that “outdoor restaurants that use private parking are generally given more leeway in their facilities “.
This video is embedded below but can be annoying for sensitive viewers.
The mall surveillance video received from @KPIXtv shows the SUV skipping two curbs and crossing four lanes before plowing in outdoor restaurants at Dynasty Chinese Seafood Restaurant. 2 guests are critical. According to the SJPD, the 69-year-old driver used the accelerator instead of the brake. Pic.twitter.com/aporE5GoGA
– Betty Yu (@BettyKPIX) October 13, 2020
“The sound when (the 4Runner) went through was like a huge crunch because all the tables and everything below were trapped,” witness John Brown tells BANG. “It was so fast that a lot of people didn’t react at first. I saw her go to the ambulance. Everyone was very shocked. “
Speaking to ABC 7, San Jose Police Department Sgt. Christian Camarillo said the driver, whose name has not yet been released, “thought he was using his brake but accelerating” and was racing into the guests. “The driver stayed there, he is cooperating with the investigation,” says Camarillo. “We have some things that we need to put together.”
As after a number of similar collisions in New York, the crash has challenged the safety of the quickly assembled outdoor restaurants that popped up in the Bay Area during the pandemic and which closed indoor dining in the area for months. (At the time of writing, Santa Clara County has not yet set a date for indoor restaurants to return.)
“Eating outside is dangerous,” a visitor to the mall told KPIX, saying that stronger barriers are needed between guests and drivers. Councilor Johnny Khamis disagrees, however, saying that small businesses have too many regulations to comply with even during the coronavirus crisis.
“There is some risk in dining outside,” says Khamis. “And unfortunately we found out about it. However, the fact is that if we don’t allow outdoor dining, these restaurants will go out of business. ”