Rhea Mahbubani

Cars Slam Into Fremont Denny's, Redwood City Apartment Building

Two Bay Area drivers plowed into buildings on Friday — in one case, injuring a Denny's employee who didn't get out of the way fast enough, and in the other, damaging a building and shutting down roads for hours.

in Fremont, an elderly driver rammed his pickup truck into a Denny's, sending one employee to the hospital just before 10 a.m., fire officials said.

After the crash, the driver and his passenger sat in front of the restaurant, visibly in shock.

"He went to back up, to pull the car back in, and it just spun around and around and that’s where we ended up," Louise Kalning said of her husband, who was driving.

A photograph on the Fremont Fire Department's Twitter page showed a white pickup truck had backed into the eatery, leaving a gaping hole on one side of the building and shattering glass that littered the floor. 

Investigators are still trying to figure out exactly what happened. But Battalion Chief Richard Dickinson said this is the third time in the past 10 days in which a senior citizen has driven into a Fremont building.

"Usually what happens is the person has the foot on the accelerator and the brake, realize the vehicle is moving faster and the foot is a little to the gas pedal, keep pushing the gas harder, and the harder they push, the faster the vehicle goes," Dickinson said. 

A restaurant hostess was taken to the hospital after shattered glass fell on her.

"It sounded crazy," said Denny's employee Ralph Calender. "I just heard a crash and came out and the lady fell to the ground."

The couple in the truck said they will be OK, after a very harrowing few seconds. Kalning sported a bruise on her arm after the crash, but refused medical attention.

NBC Bay Area
A driver rammed into two vehicles and a Redwood City apartment building, majorly damaging it. (Aug. 12, 2016)

Meanwhile, a Redwood City apartment building was deemed unsafe to enter after an SUV crashed into it Friday morning, a police sergeant said.

However, building officials may allow some residents to return home if a PG&E crew is sure the utilities in some units were not damaged, police Sgt. Ed Conover said.

At about 10:15 a.m., the SUV crashed into the building's garage at 512 Chestnut St., between Middlefield Road and Stambaugh Street.

Every resident was evacuated after the crash because the entire building was deemed structurally unsound. Even if some residents are allowed to go home, residents of the apartments above the garage will have to find temporary housing, Conover said.

The San Mateo Urban Search and Rescue Team responded to shore up the building so residents could go back in to get some of their belongings.

The driver of the SUV suffered minor to moderate injuries and was taken to a hospital, Redwood City fire Battalion Chief Dan Abrams said. The driver did not appear to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol, Conover said.

None of the building's residents were hurt and the American Red Cross will be helping all of the residents whose homes are deemed unsafe to live in, Conover said.

The area was closed to traffic after the crash but is expected to open again at 3:30 p.m.

The cause of the crash is under investigation. The driver of the SUV may have suffered a medical emergency before the crash, police Lt. Sean Hart said.

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