LaBella Drive Through
It was a sunny Friday afternoon on February 17, when a car drove into the dining room of laBella Italian Grill . The lunch crowd had dispersed, and the restaurant employees were on the other side of the restaurant when the accident occurred. To those at the scene it looked like a total disaster, with the rear end of a vehicle hanging out of LaBella’s interior. We were heartened by the fact that no ambulances had been called to the scene.Of course, we wondered how the car had gotten into that position, and who had been driving. With the window wall shattered, framing and ducts hanging down, it appeared that the restaurant would be out of business for quite awhile.
Our favorite pizza chef, Eddie Krasniqi, didn’t return our call, but we later learned that an elderly lady had been the driver. The 85 year old driver had been heading into a parking space in front of the salon next door when she engaged the accelerator , thinking it was the brake. As her car accelerated, she turned the steering wheel to avoid hitting the salon, and continued to stomp on the gas. We’re told that she did, though a little late, keep her appointment with her hair stylist. She had experienced several similar mishaps in the recent past.
Four days later a friend and I were enjoying dinner at the up and running LaBella Italian Grill. Sheets of plywood had replaced the broken windows that look out onto Broadway, and there were signs of the ductwork repairs being made in the ceiling, but the recovery was nothing short of amazing to those of us who had seen the unintended drive through.
Photos by Juanita Lopez