Woman killed, 4 hurt after vehicle crashes into restaurant’s outside seating area

Florida Highway Patrol

MATLACHA, Fla. — An 80-year-old woman was killed and four other people were injured after a vehicle struck people seated outside a Southwest Florida restaurant on Saturday, authorities said.

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According to a news release from the Florida Highway Patrol, troopers said a 24-year-old man from Cape Coral crashed into That BBQ Place in Matlacha at about 5:50 p.m. EDT, the Fort Myers News-Press reported.

Troopers said the vehicle left the road as he was driving east on Pine Island Road Northwest. The vehicle entered the north gravel shoulder of the road, striking a no-parking sign and a wooden decorative post, according to the newspaper.

FHP spokesperson Lt. Greg Bueno said the sedan “collided with five pedestrian patrons seated at outside restaurant tables, a parked/unoccupied motorcycle, and a westbound traveling pickup truck,” WINK-TV reported.

The pickup was driven by a 63-year-old man from Cape Coral, the News-Press reported.

The 80-year-old woman, from Matlacha, was pronounced dead at the scene, according to WBBH-TV.

Police did not identify the victim, but a man claiming to be her son said she was Mary Lou Sharp, WFTX-TV reported.

“Right now, I’m at a loss for words,” the man told the television station on Sunday. “My mind is just going a million miles an hour.”

A 77-year-old man from Matlacha was also injured, along with a 67-year-old man from Matlacha and two Sanibel Island residents -- a 58-year-old man and a 55-year-old woman, the News-Press reported.

“He’s driving through the tables. There’s a guy on the hood of the car and another woman on top because they’re trying to hang on,” Micheal O’Brien, of Cape Coral, told WINK. “I’m fumbling for my phone trying to get 911. I was quick as I could.”

Steve Buechner told WBBH that he was driving near the restaurant when the crash occurred.

“It really was out of a movie; I mean, I knew something horrible was going on, people yelling and screaming and saw tables flying and people in the air and then people on the ground by my truck,” Buechner told the television, adding that the motorist struck his truck.

“I was like a deer in the headlights,” Buechner said. “It all happened so fast.”

In a Facebook post, That BBQ Place said the restaurant would be closed for a couple of days.

“I will let you know when we reopen,” the post stated.

It was unclear why the motorist lost control of his vehicle.

The Florida Highway Patrol said an investigation was ongoing.

Matlacha is located just west of Fort Myers.



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