Panera Bread employee hit as woman accidentally drives into restaurant

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by KHOU.com staff

khou.com

Posted on June 10, 2014 at 12:10 PM

Updated Tuesday, Jun 10 at 4:22 PM

HOUSTON – Two people are in the hospital after a truck crashed into a Woodlands Panera Bread restaurant.

The crash happened around 9:58 a.m. on Tuesday, June 10, 2014 in the 3100 block of College Park Drive, close to FM 242 and Interstate 45.

One of the injured was a worker who had just finished bussing a table and was simply heading for the front door.

It is supposed to be a spot for a nice quiet breakfast, but not this morning.

“I just heard the explosion,” said Tom Franklin, whom witnessed the incident.

It was just before 10 a.m. when the Panera Bread everyone in it was shaken -- literally.

“Looked over and she had already hit the window,” said Franklin.

He and his wife were just one table away.

“We are lucky,” said Franklin. “It was that close (to hitting us) – only about 8 feet.”

Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office investigators say they are not sure if a medical problem was at-play in the incident, but authorities do know that the 64-year-old female driver of the Silver Suzuki Equator truck hit the gas while trying to park.

To make it worse, an employee of the restaurant was walking in front of the truck and was pinned between the truck and the building. Both of his legs are broken as a result of the accident.

“He was conscious and communicating with us the entire time. The ambulance said that it was a non-life threatening injury,” said Panera Bread Manager Cindy Drisaldi.

Investigators say the woman driving the truck was taken to the hospital.

Witnesses said she was hysterical, and that she was afraid that she could have accidentally killed the worker.

Inspectors say there is no significant structural damage to the building, but the restaurant will need to be cleaned. A few small repairs will need to be, and the business shut down the day of the incident to take care of said changes.

”It could have been much worse. Much worse,” said Drisaldi.

The area the truck drove through is outdoor table space.

”One of the tables was totally demolished, as you can see,” said Drisaldi.

If the truck had headed three feet to the left, investigators say it would have likely ended up in the kitchen.

Montgomery County Sheriff’s Investigators are still working on the details of the incident and have not released any possible charges.

Panera's managers say they are working hard to be back open Wednesday morning.

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