Two women died and at least nine others were injured Friday when a car crashed into an outdoor dining area at the Parthenon restaurant in Washington, D.C., authorities say.
The accident took place at around 12:15 p.m. when an elderly man driving north on Connecticut Avenue “lost control” of his SUV, according to Commander Duncan Bedlion of the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD).
Eight people were transported to nearby hospitals, including the two who died. Three of those people are in critical condition, while the other three sustained non life-threatening injuries. Three more people were treated for injuries at the scene.
“This is rare,” said DC Fire and EMS Chief John A. Donnelly, according to WUSA9. “This isn’t the type of call — we haven’t had an incident like this in many years. A car hitting a crowd of people is a very serious event and obviously, we see it’s a tragedy and results in a lot of serious injuries.”
The driver, who was alone in the vehicle, was also treated for injuries at the scene and remains cooperative as MPD’s Major Crash Investigations Team looks into the crash.
“All indications are that this was truly accidental,” Bedlion said during a press conference. “There was no indication this was intentional.”
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Michael Harrison, a manager at the restaurant, told The Washington Post that the driver “looked like he was confused as to why he couldn’t stop,” adding: “I saw the car hop the curb and start plowing everything in its way.”
Bedlion thanked the civilians who alerted officers that were just block away by honking their horns and flagging them down. “We were able to get here right away and secure a scene,” he said, noting that many people have lunch in the populated area of the crash.