Ocala Fire Rescue workers took the driver, Evelyn Solgan, to Munroe Regional Medical Center following the single-car accident, but Ocala Police Department Officer Robert Cashner said she did not appear to be injured.
Cashner said Solgan arrived with her husband at 5:27 p.m. at the 3405 SW College Road restaurant to meet other family members for dinner.
“It seems that they parked here,” Cashner said, pointing to a parking spot just a few feet from the restaurant entrance, “and she got confused and hit the gas and went through the building.”
Cashner said there were no injuries inside the restaurant.
Solgan drove her 2005 Toyota Camry about 4 feet into the restaurant before the vehicle stopped, destroying the business’ mostly glass entrance
Within an hour of the crash, police had put the car into reverse and driven it out to allow emergency workers to remove hanging glass and some building debris. After the accident, customers remained in the building to finish their meals.
One restaurant worker said she asked customers in the restaurant, numbering about 40, to leave for their own safety, but most wanted to stay. She said the restaurant was allowing them to finish their meals but was not accepting any new patrons.
Solgan was cited for careless driving, Cashner said.
Jade Chun, the restaurant’s floor manager, was in the rear of the business when Solgan crashed into the restaurant.
“I was talking to vendors … when I heard this very, very loud noise. The first thing I thought was plates falling, but it just got louder,” Chun said, standing outside the restaurant and taking stock of the damage. “Then I thought it was lightning but the (noise) was too long.”
When she saw the car’s front end in the business, “it was shock, and I started counting my employees (to make sure they were safe).
“(But) I’m very happy everyone was safe,” she said. “That was my first concern.”
Contact Fred Hiers at firstname.lastname@example.org or 867-4157.