Two women have died and at least 10 others have been injured after a vehicle crashed into the outdoor terrace of a popular Northwest Washington restaurant at lunchtime, police and fire officials said. from the city. About 15 minutes after noon this Friday, the emergency services received a notice that a large car had left the road and destroyed the patio area where a large group of people were eating.
The Parthenon, name of the place, is located in the 5500 block of Connecticut Avenue, an area that has other restaurants, cafes, a fish market, an Exxon gas station and a dry cleaner, which was the business in which the car was finally embedded. According to Vito Maggiolo, a spokesman for the District of Columbia (DC) Fire Department and Emergency Medical Services, five of those hospitalized are in critical condition and three others were treated for minor injuries at the scene.
According to the preliminary investigation, an elderly man would have lost control of the vehicle while he was driving. “Everything points to the fact that we are facing a real accident,” said the district’s police chief, Duncan Bedlion, who did not provide the driver’s age, at a press conference from the scene. “There is no indication that he was intentional,” he added.
That stretch of Connecticut Avenue serves as an entrance to the city for traffic from neighboring Maryland and is usually packed with vehicles at the time of the tragic accident. The account of the events coincided with several people interviewed for this newspaper. A young couple was drinking coffee at Starbucks when they heard a sharp acceleration and then a loud bang. “It didn’t seem real, we were paralyzed,” explained Asher Fisher. The employees of the fishmonger in front of the restaurant couldn’t get over their astonishment.
One of the Starbucks employees leaned out to find out what was happening when she heard many sirens, both police and ambulance. “People have been taken on stretchers, but I didn’t want to get any closer. Hopefully there are only two dead, ”Rose wished. Next to her, a client of the women’s clothing store Core 72 reported that she had seen people trapped under the car. Several witnesses have told the newspaper Washington Post that the old man who was driving was around 80 years old and that he got out of the car by his foot, although he seemed very bewildered. Saira Rivas, a Salvadoran living in Washington for almost two decades and who lives in one of the many apartment buildings that line the wide avenue, was horrified by the event: “To die you just need to be alive.”
Seven people have died in road accidents so far this year, the same number as last year’s total, according to police records. City data shows that some 500 people have been injured in traffic accidents to date.
Join EL PAÍS to follow all the news and read without limits.
subscribe here to the ‘newsletter’ of EL PAÍS America and receive all the information keys of the current situation in the region.