SUV drives into Old Town Auburn restaurant patio, injuring three

One victim trapped under vehicle, taken to Roseville hospital
By: Gus Thomson, Journal Staff Writer
-A +A

A man was pinned under an SUV and two others injured Monday after the vehicle drove into an outdoor dining area at an Old Town Auburn restaurant.

Onlookers watched as the SUV moved toward the front patio of Tio Pepe Mexican Restaurant, 216 Washington St.

The SUV struck three people at one of the patio tables. Two were taken by ambulance to Sutter Auburn Faith Hospital. The third - who was pinned under the vehicle - was taken to Sutter Roseville Medical Center, Auburn Police Sgt. Michael Garlock said.

Emergency responders had to hoist the vehicle off the man to remove him from underneath the SUV, while the female driver of the SUV sat on a chair outside an adjoining restaurant, tearful and holding a small dog. Emergency personnel performed CPR on the man before he was taken to the ambulance.

Auburn Police were not releasing the names of the victims or the driver. Garlock said the reasons why the vehicle moved into the outdoor patio area were still unknown and the crash was under investigation.

The incident was reported around 2:40 p.m. on Washington Street.

Oscar Guerra said he saw the SUV seemingly out of control with the woman driver behind the wheel and customers sitting outside.

Guerra said he was applying for a job at Tio Pepe and watched from the parking lot. The SUV crashed into a heavy concrete planter and then the group of three people - two men and a woman.

Guerra and Pablo Perez, an employee of the neighboring Bootleggers Old Town Tavern and Grill, rushed over to help, seeing the man under the SUV and the two others lying on the ground.

Guerra said they worked to move branches away from the man's face under the vehicle. Perez said and they could see him start to breath. They also removed rubble from the table and then tried unsuccessfully to lift the SUV off the man, using a small jack.

During that time, the man under the SUV made no sound, Guerra said.

Emergency responders eventually were able to free the man, using a hoist. 

The adjoining parking lots were cordoned off during efforts by firefighters and police and concerned Old Town business people and visitors looked on.  

"Hopefully, they saved his life," said Ruben Ramirez, who owns the nearby Cafe Delicias.