An out-of-control car driven by a Napa woman left the driveway at Bel Aire Plaza Monday evening and crashed through the dining patio at Villa Corona, smashing furnishings and sending a family running for safety.
A video posted to the Napa Police Department’s Facebook page shows a woman and two young children exiting the store, moments before the car drove up onto the curb. The woman did not appear to notice the oncoming car, but the kids covered their heads and ran, barely clearing the corner before tables began flying toward the restaurant.
The driver, 60, and one child, who was about 2 or 3 years old, were taken to the hospital with minor injuries, according to the Napa Police and Napa Fire.
Villa Corona owner Fernando Villasenor said the security camera footage kept him up last night.
“It’s unbelievable,” he said. “I was just so grateful that they started skipping and running.”
Villasenor said the shopping center will bear some of the costs, but the restaurant is looking at spending about $10,000 to replace the tables, chairs, umbrellas and planters in front of the store.
In spite of minor damages, Villasenor said the restaurant is open for business.
Napa Fire was called to the scene around 5 p.m. Officials found the car crashed into a masonry wall that separates the rear of Bel Aire Plaza from a residential neighborhood. The car stopped about 50 feet from someone’s house, Napa Fire said.
There was no sign of the crash outside of the restaurant Tuesday. Vivian Saldivar, a 13-year-employee of Villa Corona, said six volunteers helped clean the mess.
When the crash occurred, Saldivar said she was looking out the window. The explosive impact coated the restaurant’s windows in dirt. The car moved so fast that she only saw its tail as it turned the corner.
“It looked like a movie,” she said. “I was like, ‘It’s either a tornado or an earthquake.’”
Saldivar’s mind went to the woman and children who had just exited the restaurant. She ran outside, shaking, to see a small crowd starting to gather from nearby businesses.
The girl was hit by a table while trying to escape, Saldivar said. She was crying, shaking, scraped her arm and said she felt pain in her head, stomach and leg. The boy was quiet and appeared to be OK, she said.
The woman’s husband, who had been parked facing the restaurant, told Saldivar that the motorist almost hit his car, she said. He described the car as moving quickly and snaking through the parking lot.
“Thank God it was ugly weather” and nobody was eating or cleaning outside, Saldivar said.
Napa Police did not offer an explanation for the incident, but said medical factors did not appear to be at play in the crash, Napa Police said. No arrest was made in connection with the crash.
The nearby residential tenant told fire officials that something similar happened about a month ago, when a Bel Aire Plaza patron in the parking lot got the gas and brake pedals confused. They took out a large section of the stone wall, right next to the area where the Napa woman crashed Monday, Napa Fire said.
View the store’s security camera footage of the crash here: