At least a dozen people called 911 Friday evening to report the bizarre accident of a car plowing through the front of a Plantation restaurant during its busy dinner hour, injuring 20 people.
Thai Meal, located in the Jacaranda Plaza at 8257 W. Sunrise Blvd., reopened Tuesday for takeout and delivery orders until the city clears them to fully reopen, the business said on its Facebook account.
Amid the chaos and confusion, witnesses who called for help weren’t sure how many people were injured. A few dispatchers initially thought the call was coming from Landlubber’s Raw Bar & Grill, just under a mile away at the corner of Sunrise Boulevard and North Pine Island Road in Jacaranda Square, rather than at Jacaranda Plaza.
“I’m at the Thai Meal place on University and Sunrise, and a car just ran into the restaurant. Everybody’s hurt. There’s people bleeding, there’s glass everywhere. You need to send an ambulance please,” one of the many 911 callers told an operator as sirens wailed in the background.
Lt. Aston Bright, a spokesperson for Plantation Fire Department, said the driver who crashed was trying to park in the lot about 6:30 p.m.
Shanique Castro, 33, of Plantation, told the South Florida Sun Sentinel that she saw a woman in a red car swerve onto the sidewalk, then into the building.
A woman who was one of the first few to call 911 told a dispatcher that they would need to send more than one ambulance. Firefighters responded as a level two mass casualty event, Bright told the Sun Sentinel shortly after the crash.
“Yes, please, hurry, there’s a lot of people that are injured,” the woman told the 911 operator.
“I don’t know, sir,” she said when asked how many were injured. “There’s at least five, six people. might have to send more than one truck,” she said, trying to calm a woman down in the background.
Nine of the 20 people injured were taken to HCA Florida Westside Hospital in Plantation or Broward Health Medical Center in Fort Lauderdale, including two pregnant women who were transported for observation, Bright and the Plantation Police Department previously said. The driver was not injured.
“Is she OK?” the woman who called 911 said to someone in the background. “They should get out if they can.” She seemed to be directing bystanders to sit a bleeding woman down to elevate her leg.
A woman called 911 from Cookie Cutters Haircuts for Kids, next door to Thai Meal, and said one of the two pregnant women who was inside the restaurant was scratched, cut and bleeding. Another caller told a dispatcher that a 27-year-old woman was “bleeding badly” and injured her head.
“I think she’s in shock,” the caller said.
The owners of Thai Meal wrote in a Facebook comment that family members who were eating at the restaurant as well as customers and staff were those who were hurt. Bright said Friday that none of the injuries were life-threatening.
Their conditions were unclear Tuesday evening, and the police department has not released additional details on their investigation.
“Thank you for the all the calls, outpouring of support, emails, letters and cards,” the Thai Meal owners said in their Facebook post Tuesday. “We are so fortunate to live and work in such a great community.”