3 hurt as car jumps curb at restaurant

May 30, 2007|By Sumathi Reddy | Sumathi Reddy,SUN REPORTER

Sidewalk dining nearly proved fatal yesterday evening when a black Honda Accord jumped a curb in front of two Federal Hill restaurants, injuring at least three patrons.

The car came to a halt at the steps of Regi's American Bistro.

Two people were taken to Maryland General Hospital and one to the Maryland Shock Trauma Center. Witnesses said the injuries did not appear to be life-threatening, but the names and conditions of the victims were not immediately available.

The accident occurred shortly before 7:30 p.m., outside Regi's and an adjacent restaurant, Ten-O-Six, in the 1000 block of Light St.

Overturned folding chairs and tables were crushed and knocked over. The rear window of the car was shattered, with flowers from the knocked-over light pole filling the back of the car. The street sign for Light Street and E. Hamburg Street lay on the ground.

Steve Alivizatos, 28, and Lauren Palmer, 25, were among about a dozen people enjoying what they thought would an outdoor dinner on a pleasant evening at Regi's when they saw the car coming toward them at what they estimated to be 20 to 25 mph. Alivizatos said he jumped up to get out of the way, and saw another person roll up on the hood.

"[The car] hopped the curb, went through the pole, through the awning, took out a table and then hit the steps over there. And on top of it, his wheels were still spinning when he hit the steps," said Alivizatos. "I literally jumped up when I heard him pop the curb."

"You're sitting down eating; it's hard to believe that this could happen," said Palmer. "I'm shaken up. I was scared."

Alan Morstein, 50, who has owned the restaurant for seven years, said he was thankful that no one was seriously hurt. He said he intends to lobby the city for jersey wall protection for restaurants with sidewalk seating. "I think it's imperative," he said. "This was full. That nobody got hurt, it's a miracle."

Mahammed Hansa, 54, said his son, Kader Hansa, 22, who works as a taxi driver, was operating the car and trying to park when the brakes failed. The driver did not appear hurt. "This is unexpected," said the father, who spoke at the scene of the accident. "He is driving good. Better than me. I'm sorry, very sorry."

sumathi.reddy@baltsun.com

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