Local News

SUV plows into Raleigh Starbucks

Posted October 9, 2011 11:28 a.m. EDT
Updated October 10, 2011 4:22 p.m. EDT

— Eight Starbucks customers and workers in Raleigh got an unexpected jolt Sunday morning when an SUV slammed through the glass door and stopped inside the coffee shop.

The blue BMW jumped the curb, crossed the sidewalk, crushed an outdoor dining table and didn't stop until it was all the way in the shop at 6282 Glenwood Ave. around 9:45 a.m. Police said no one was injured.

"There was glass everywhere, and it looked really scary, like it could really hurt somebody," Sydney Siegel, the niece of a Starbucks customer, said.

Joe Franzen said he was shocked by the scene when he, his mother and son drove up to the coffee shop.

"We could have been in there at the time if we had gotten there a little bit earlier. We were lucky not to be in there," Franzen said.

The driver, Nguyen Le, told police that her SUV was in park when it suddenly jumped the curb. Officers cited her for failure to reduce speed.

City inspectors evaluated the safety of the building. The store manager said the Starbucks should be reopened by mid-week.

It's the second time in the past month that a vehicle hopped a curb and slammed into a Raleigh restaurant.

On Sept. 4, a car jumped the curb outside the Noodles and Company restaurant in Cameron Village and plowed through an outdoor dining area, injuring three women.

The victims' friends campaigned before a Raleigh city committee for more safety barriers around outdoor cafes. The committee found that the city has plenty of safety measures in place for public areas and that private restaurants have to deal with the liability themselves.

Starbucks customer Scott Hertzog suggested that restaurants take some safety measures.

"It would be nice if you had some concrete planters in front of it, something to slow the car down," Hertzog said.

Franzen said he doesn't think any changes are necessary. He said Sunday's collision was just an unfortunate accident and that he wouldn't complain about the mild consequences for him.

"I kind of want my Starbucks, though. Guess I won't be getting that today," Franzen said.