Van plows into ta­bles full of din­ers

Los Angeles Times - - CALIFORNIA - By Alene Tchekm­e­dyian and An­drea Castillo alene.tchekm­e­dyian@la­times.com an­drea.castillo@la­times.com

Eight peo­ple are in­jured, one crit­i­cally, in col­li­sion at the Fish Spot in Mid-Wil­shire neigh­bor­hood.

At least eight peo­ple were in­jured Sun­day af­ter­noon when a two-car col­li­sion sent a van hurtling into a group of peo­ple din­ing at a pop­u­lar res­tau­rant in the MidWil­shire neigh­bor­hood of Los An­ge­les, po­lice said.

The driver of the van, who po­lice said caused the col­li­sion when he blew through a red light, was ar­rested af­ter try­ing to flee on foot, said Los An­ge­les Po­lice Sgt. C. Bar­low. By­standers de­tained him less than a block away.

“He didn’t get very far at all,” Bar­low said. The man, who was not iden­ti­fied, was booked on sus­pi­cion of felony hit and run.

Wit­nesses de­scribed a dra­matic scene out­side the Fish Spot at Pico and Re­dondo boule­vards, where shortly be­fore 4 p.m. the van plowed through a white picket fence into sev­eral ta­bles of din­ers.

Some peo­ple were ly­ing with bro­ken limbs, while a man bled pro­fusely from his head un­der pieces of fur­ni­ture and fenc­ing. Neigh­bors rushed out of their homes, some burst­ing into tears when they saw what had hap­pened.

“It was scary and sad to see the peo­ple in pain,” said 15-year-old Andy Her­nan­dez, who rushed to the res­tau­rant on his skate­board. “It was shock­ing.”

Five men and three women — rang­ing in age from 18 to 51 — were taken to a hos­pi­tal, ac­cord­ing to the Los An­ge­les Fire Depart­ment.

A 44-year-old man was in crit­i­cal con­di­tion, while a 30year-old man and two women, ages 18 and 28, were in se­ri­ous con­di­tion. The four oth­ers who were hos­pi­tal­ized were in fair con­di­tion, fire of­fi­cials said.

The res­tau­rant’s 27-yearold owner, Fe­lic­ity In­niss, had just walked away from serv­ing a ta­ble out­side when the col­li­sion oc­curred.

“He swerved around a few cars and next thing you know he was in the gate with us — peo­ple were un­der the van and hurt,” she said.

Two in­jured women col­lapsed, she said, as they tried to run away. In­niss rushed to the aid of the man bleed­ing from his head, throw­ing pieces of wood from the fenc­ing and pa­tio fur­ni­ture off his body. He had been din­ing with his daugh­ter, who looked about 10 years old and was not in­jured, she said.

About 7 p.m., of­fi­cials towed away the van, which had a flat tire and a dam­aged bumper, as a crowd watched. Pieces of fish were scat­tered on the ground, amid splat­ters of blood, de­bris and ar­ti­cles of cloth­ing.

Po­lice said nei­ther driver was in­jured, though wit­nesses re­ported see­ing the man driv­ing the van be­ing rolled away on a stretcher. The other mo­torist, who was a driv­ing a gray Ford truck, wasn’t cited and was able to drive away around 6:30 p.m.

Po­lice said they don’t be­lieve the van’s driver was un­der the in­flu­ence of drugs or al­co­hol, nor do they be­lieve he acted in­ten­tion­ally.

Christina House For The Times

A COL­LI­SION sent a van hurtling into a group of din­ers out­side the Fish Spot res­tau­rant at Pico and Re­dondo boule­vards. Po­lice say the van’s driver caused the crash when he blew through a red light.

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