SAN JOSE, — Two people were in critical condition Monday after being injured when a man drove his SUV into an outdoor dining area, hitting a pedestrian and several diners in Northern California, authorities said.
Eight people were taken to the hospital with injuries described as major to minor after the crash Sunday. The conditions of the other six injured people were not immediately known, San Jose police Sgt. Christian Camarillo said.
Officers initially said the 69-year-old driver may have been in medical distress prior to the crash.
A mile away and less than six hours later, a man was fatally injured near a food truck in a parking lot when a woman accidentally stepped on her pickup’s gas pedal instead of the brake. He died early Monday, Camarrillo said.
Some restaurants have set up tents and tables in parking lots or closed off streets because of indoor dining restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Witnesses said screams followed the crash Sunday at the parking lot restaurant at Grand Century Plaza in East San Jose and people quickly attempted to help those who were injured.
“The noise when (the 4Runner) went through was like a huge grinding sound because of all the tables and everything caught underneath,” John Brown, who was working at a political booth nearby and saw the crash, told the Mercury News. “It was so fast a lot of people didn’t react at first.”
Buck Suggs, 54, of San Jose, who was also working at the booth, said he saw the vehicle parked in the lot directly across from the outdoor-dining area. Suggs said he heard the engine rev and the tires screech, then saw the 4Runner — smoke coming from its tires as it crossed a two-lane road and a traffic median — before it crashed into the dining area.
People could be heard screaming “get out of the way” before a loud crashing sound, he said.
A few hours later, a woman trying to park her pickup truck in the parking lot of La Placita Tropicana shopping center hit the gas instead of the brake and crashed into a food truck, hitting a man, Camarillo said.
The man died of his injuries at a hospital early Monday.
This story has been corrected to say that a man, not a woman, was driving in the crash that involved outdoor diners, and that a fatality occurred during a separate crash near a food truck, not in the dining area.