2 injured at North Port diner, car jumped curb, driver didn't appear to apply brakes

Workers at the North Port 5 Guys at Cocoplum Village Shops clean glass on Thursday after a car smashed through a window.

NORTH PORT — Two patrons were injured when a driver plowed his car into a patio table at the 5 Guys restaurant at the Cocoplum Villages Shops Thursday.

The vehicle pushed the table through a window, striking a woman inside the restaurant. She was treated for minor injuries.

A man outside the diner was injured when the car glanced off him. He was treated at the scene and transported to a local hospital.

The incident happened at around 2 p.m. Thursday, according to witnesses.

North Port resident Renee Ainscoe reportedly saw the driver of the small sedan speeding through the entrance of Cocoplum Village Shops and continuing to accelerate as he turned into a parking space.

“He never stopped or even slowed down,” Ainscoe said. “He drove over the curb into the concrete column and then hit a table and it smashed through the window.”

Ainscoe saw a couple eating inside the restaurant right as the table smashed through the glass, she said.

“It’s a shame. I hope everyone is okay.”

Dennis James and a companion had just finished their burgers and fries. James, of Venice, was discarding lunch debris and his friend had left the store. James watched in horror as the two-toned BMW jumped the curb, veered over and struck that concrete column, glancing off his companion. That man was thrown to the sidewalk as the vehicle plowed into the patio table, driving it through a storm-grade window.

James insisted the driver never applied the brakes. The sound of the patio table being rammed and the suddenness of shattering glass inside the diner was “as if I was hit with a firecracker,” he said. “It was that loud.”

James sprinted to assist his friend, then yelled at the driver, whom he claimed had returned to his car to check for a blemish on a side mirror. The driver was at the diner after the accident, checking paperwork outside.

“Are you kidding me?” James said he told the driver. “He looked to me like he was in shock.”

Neither victim was named per Marsy’s Law restrictions.


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