Normally when you hear about a vehicle smashed through the front of a store or building, it's the product of an elderly driver perhaps confused about the gas pedal vs. the brake pedal, but several hours after an SUV slammed into the Atwood Avenue Benny's, NBC10 found out from local police that it was a female in her 30's with two children in the car who was in the driver's seat.
Sharon Morgero of Cranston stood next to the damaged building with her mouth wide open, and her hand on her face.
Morgero said, "And someone came up to me and said, 'Oh, did you see that?' And I said, 'No!' And she said, 'Yeah, someone drove right through the window!"
Benny's was full of customers shopping on their way home from work at 5:45 p.m. on Friday, when a dark colored Honda Pilot jumped the curb, and drove fifty some odd feet, and went crashing through the front glass of the store, causing quite a bit of damage.
Morgero said, "I came with my little grandson because he loves Benny's , and he had a gift card, and he wanted to go, he's been wanting to go since Christmas, and then we drove up, and I saw the news truck and I said, 'Why is that news truck there?' And I'm looking and it didn't look like the window was broken, and then I saw all the bricks everywhere."
One employee had to be transported to the hospital after the crash, but incredibly, all Benny's customers, and the female driver in her 30's and the two children who were riding in the car at the time of the accident were unharmed.
Standing in front of the wreckage on Friday night Benny's spokesperson Philip Loscoe told NBC10 news, "Well, it's still preliminary, but as we know it, a car jumped the curb right over here, we believe it was a mistake over gas pedal and break, and contacted the building, went through. One of our employees, unfortunately was struck, suffered very minor injuries, to our knowledge, and was taken to the hospital, that's really all we know right now."
Some bystanders were shocked to see just how far up and over the curb, and across the long sidewalk the SUV had traveled in order to reach the store.
Morgero said, "Yeah, you can tell, there's nothing there. They must have really stepped on the accelerator instead of the brake. It's unbelievable. I can't believe they hurled up there."
Loscoe said, "It was open for business at the time, so it could have been worse. And we'll have to obviously close as we renovate the hole in the building, but that will happen as soon as humanly possible."
So far it's unclear if the female in her 30's who was driving that Honda Pilot will be cited for any violations.
Cranston police tell NBC10 the incident is under investigation to determine if the crash was a result of operator error, or mechanical malfunction.