A car made its way through a drive-thru and a parking lot and damaged several vehicles in its path. This unfolded in the Publix parking lot in Port Charlotte Crossing on Monday.
There is some noticeable damage left behind, including the sign tied together at the Dunkin drive-thru entrance. A car coming out of the Rib City drive-thru next door to the Dunkin jumped the curb and hit a car coming into the drive-thru and pushed that car into another curb.
Those who work in the plaza were in shock as it happened. Jessica Hansen is a manager at Rib City and says she can still hear the sounds of the crash. “A lot of screeching and banging and more screeching and banging,” said Hansen.
Paulina Filmanowicz is an employee at Rita’s. “I actually had my back turned, and I heard it. It was so loud I jumped,” said Filmanowicz.
Claudia Ahrens works at Rib City. “Still to this day, I’m shaking,” Ahrens said.
The driver was going through the drive-thru of Rib City on US-41 in Port Charlotte. Hansen says that driver was a regular. “He was very happy. He was very calm. He looked like he was getting ready to go home like he was ready for lunch,” said Hansen.
She handed him his regular order and closed the window. “No sooner than that, I closed the window and walked away. That’s when everything happened in seconds,” Hansen said.
“He just thought the gas was the brake and hit it harder and just kept going on accident,” Hansen added.
The driver then hit four cars in the Publix parking lot and pushed the fifth car into a shopping cart corral. He then hit the sixth and final car before he stopped.
“You’re heart drops, and you’re like, ‘oh my gosh, is everyone okay,'” said Ahrens.
Five of the cars involved suffered heavy damage and were towed away. Luckily, no one was seriously hurt. “I’m more mellow now that I know that everyone no one really got hurt,” Ahrens said.
The Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office said the driver did not appear to be under the influence. He was, however, found at fault and was cited for careless driving.