UPDATE: Car plows into pizzeria, man injured

Los Angeles County Fire and American Medical Response crews work to transport a man to the hospital. The man was injured when a car slammed into a pizza shop. Austin Dave/The Signal

A man eating his lunch at Ameci Pizza Kitchen Friday was struck by a car that crashed through the plate glass window.

The solo vehicle crash happened shortly after 12:30 p.m. at the restaurant on Lyons Avenue at Wiley Canyon Road.

The wayward car — a black Ford Fusion — pulled immediately from the damaged restaurant covered in broken glass.

Paramedics with the Los Angeles County Fire Department took the injured man — described by the restaurant manager as a regular customer — to the hospital.

One woman, believed to be the driver, was put in handcuffs and placed in a cruiser after completing a sobriety test in the parking lot.

The car narrowly missed three friends who had just sat down to eat.  

The food arrived, and then the car arrived.

“We were having lunch when all of a sudden we thought the building exploded,” said Judy Barringer.

Barringer was about to begin eating her cold cut sandwich when the car crashed through the window, missing her by 6 inches, she said.

“This car flew in and flew out,” she said. “I had my back turned to it when it impacted.”

The crash showered the injured man with broken glass.

“The car just shot back out,” Barringer said, noting that’s when she saw the injured man.

“The gentleman who was struck was at the next table,” she said. “I went over to him. He was injured, covered in glass cuts.”

The injured man remained conscious, Barringer said, noting “he was stunned.”

Barringer and her friends, Debbie Furnari and Kyle Schlehner, are regular patrons of Ameci’s, who on this day ordered a veggie sub sandwich and a pizza, respectively, she said.

“The food came to the table before we could take a bite,” she said.

“The (Ameci) manager came over and offered to pay for our lunch,” Barringer said, noting she declined the offer in light of the extensive damage done to the restaurant.

Ameci Manager Joseph Maier, standing behind yellow police tape between small piles of swept broken glass, said none of his staff was hurt in the crash.

“It could have been much worse,” he said.

“He’s a regular customer,” he said about the man struck by the car. “I hope he’s OK.”

As he spoke, clusters of onlookers gathered in the parking lot, watching the apparent driver of the wayward car carry out a sobriety test.

The slight-bodied woman, about 30, wearing a green pullover and tight black pants, her hair pulled back and held by a hair clip, was seen holding her arms out in front of her and walking in a small circle as a deputy instructed her.

The car, with two flat front tires and a broken windshield, was taken from the parking lot on a flatbed tow truck.

“We don’t underestimate how close we came to serious injury,” Barringer said. “We appreciate that the Lord was watching over us.”

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