Susan Gould and the staff at the Big Apple Diner had just said farewell to a customer and were going about their business in the kitchen area.
Then they heard a terrible sound.
“The first thing I noticed was the sound,” said Gould. “Then I saw the window start to shake. Then the booth started moving and then I saw the car.”
The car, which was driven by Barbara C. Salvi of Rutland, Vt., crashed into the diner at around 3 p.m. on Monday, May 18.
“She was driving east-bound on Route 4 and she drove off the shoulder of the road,” said New York State Police Trooper Jason Gutowski, who investigated the accident. “A witness said that she over-corrected and then went through the parking lot.”
On her way through the parking lot, Salvi struck the car of Francis W. Stewart of Charleston, N.H., the man whom Gould had just served in the diner.
“He was sitting over by where the accident happened,” Gould said. “He had been gone for no more than a couple of minutes.”
“He was in the middle of making his way out when he was hit on the driver’s side by Salvi,” said Gutowski. “She made contact with him and he spun around, while she just barreled through the store front.”
Gutowski said it was most likely unfamiliarity with the road that caused the accident.
“She or her husband, who was a passenger, didn’t know why she drove off the road,” said Gutowski. “They were doing the speed limit. It was most likely a case where she was unfamiliar with the road.”
At the scene, all three were treated for what were deemed minor injuries and transferred to Rutland Regional Medical Center for further evaluation.
“The main thing is that no one was hurt,” said Gould. “The glass spread throughout the kitchen, but none of the employees were hurt too bad, and all I got were a couple of scratches on my hand.”
Gould said the damage to the diner was not serious, and that she planned to remain open while repairs were made.
“We will board that area up and get it fixed,” she said. “I have already been on the phone with my (insurance) agent, and I’ll have the carpenter down here tomorrow hopefully. The girls and I still have to work.”
Following the investigation, Salvi was ticketed for moving lanes unsafely by Gutowski.