Surveillance video released in Miami restaurant crash
MIAMI (WSVN) -- New video has been released showing an awful scene where a car plowed into a group of people eating outside a Miami restaurant, Saturday.
Ten people were taken to the hospital after, police said, the driver struck eight diners when he lost control of his car.
Surveillance video shows the car crashing into diners outside La Pizzeria di Lemoni on Northeast Second Avenue and 46th Street, Saturday afternoon at around 4 p.m. According to City of Miami Police, 66-year-old Belony Alterma lost control of his 2003 Toyota Camry and struck the patrons sitting at tables alongside the sidewalk, including two children. "I just heard a loud boom and a lot of ruckus, and I turn around, and I see that this car went through where all these people were sitting out in the patio," said witness Joshua Arteaga. "It looked like a bomb went off."
Witnesses said the aftermath looked like something out of a horror movie. "And everyone was on the floor, and there were some kids screaming," said Sarah Raw, who works at a store located near the cafe. "There were a couple of people who were completely face down. From here, you can just see, like the chairs flew up and hit our window."
"They were people just sitting down and enjoying a meal with their families," said Miami Police spokesperson Kenia Fallat.
Before he crashed into the pedestrians, police said, Alterma struck a light pole. "That very light pole may have saved all these people's lives," said Fallat. "It appears that that light pole is the one that took the severe impact, and that is what caused the man to lose control and plow into those patrons sitting outside that restaurant."
One witness then saw the driver's terrified wife in the front seat. "His wife was very ecstatic," said Joseph Gougre. "She was just very upset about the whole thing."
The more severely injured victims were rushed to Jackson Memorial Hospital's Ryder Trauma Center. The rest were transported to Mount Sinai Medical Center and JMH's emergency room. Officials said the children only suffered minor injuries, but one person was transported in critical condition.
Alterma remained on the scene. He said his wife and niece were riding in the vehicle with him. The niece was OK, but his wife was transported to JMH with a mouth injury.
Speaking in Creole at his home, Alterma told 7News he is still shaken up and feels bad about the accident. "He said he was driving and pressed the brakes of the vehicle, and it just shifted, and [he] lost control," said Alterma's neighbor, who translated for him.
"It really hurts him what happened, and he's really sad and sorry for the incident that occurred today," Alterma's neighbor continued.
Saturday afternoon, restaurant employees cleaned up the debris from the accident. They declined to comment.
Police continue investigating. They believe speed may have been a factor in the crash.