RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) –Business owners are calling for changes after a minivan slammed through a new Carytown restaurant.
Police said the 80-year old driver of the minivan smashed into a trash truck early Tuesday morning, hit a parked car and then accelerated through The Daily Kitchen & Bar’s front window. No one was hurt. [Click here to read more about the accident]
“We’ll just look at this as a wake up call,” said Ted Wallof, the owner of the Daily Kitchen & Bar. “I was actually just grateful that it didn’t happen while we were open. It could’ve been tragic.”
Wallof said a reinforced gate was installed along the side of the restaurant as a precaution against a car to possibly hit the building there. He never guessed a minivan would slam through the front of the business, which is expected to reopen Wednesday.
Julia Battaglini, who owns the nearby Secco Wine Bar, said Tuesday’s mishap is similar situation to when a driver crashed into her business four years ago. And she’s seen countless near misses too.
“We’ve been to traffic court twice as witnesses where people are jumping the intersection, running the intersections and t-boning each other,” Battaglini said.
In fact, she showed a photo of a truck that struck a traffic light pole just feet from her restaurant within the past week.
Battaglini said the problem stems from congestion, drivers speeding and tourists who are not familiar with the area. “It makes me nervous for pedestrian and bicyclists,” she said.
Additionally, Battaglini said she has brought her concerns to city officials since she feels the frequency of the accidents is worrisome.
To help combat the problem, business owners said they would like to see signs or speed bumps to slow drivers down at Cary and Sheppard streets.
Richmond police said four accidents have been reported at the intersection so far this year. That’s up from zero crashes in 2012.
According to the mayor’s office, there are no city regulations on the books requiring reinforcement barriers at restaurants near busy streets.