Two women have died and six people are hurt, including three people with life-threatening injuries, after a driver plowed into a D.C. restaurant’s outdoor seating area, officials say.
The names of the women who died were not immediately released.
The victims are all people who were dining outside at the Parthenon Restaurant & Chevy Chase Lounge in the 5500 block of Connecticut Avenue NW, officials said, according to initial information.
D.C. Fire and EMS triaged multiple patients. Medics could be seen loading people onto stretchers.
Eight people were taken to hospitals with various injuries; five of those people had critical, life-threatening injuries, the fire department said. The two women who died were among those critically hurt. Three more people were evaluated on the scene but not taken to hospitals.
According to a preliminary investigation, an elderly man lost control while driving, Second District Cmdr. Duncan Bedlion said at a news conference.
“All indications are this was truly accidental. There were no indications this was intentional,” he said.
Bedlion described the driver as elderly and did not cite his age.
Firefighters were called to the scene, in the Chevy Chase area near the Maryland border, at about 12:45 p.m.
“It sounded like a freight train came through here,” said a man who reported hearing the impact.
“They were sitting, having lunch on a beautiful day, and it was, like, a few families there, and it was horrible,” said Christian Borjas, a nurse visiting from California who was at a nearby Starbucks.
Borjas was among the witnesses who ran to the scene to help.
“My first reaction was stand up and run to the accident, so what I started doing was pulling the people from their legs to the sidewalk and getting them in a safe place,” he said.
He said one of the victims was under the SUV. “And I said, like, ‘There is somebody on the bottom,” Borjas said. “So, we see the lady, and, like, about five or six people, we did it together. We pulled the car up.”
The ages of the victims range from about 30 to 80, officials said. No children were hurt.
The driver who caused the crash received treatment on the scene and was not taken to a hospital, Bedlion said.
No one was trapped, and the crash did not cause structural damage to buildings, officials said.
A silver Subaru SUV with D.C. plates could be seen on the sidewalk near Parthenon Restaurant.
An investigation by the Metropolitan Police Department is underway.
People who live in the area say the tragedy at the restaurant that’s been a beloved neighborhood fixture for decades left them shaken.
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Anyone with information on the crash is asked to contact police.
Bedlion, the police commander, thanked people who flagged down police after the crash and expressed his condolences to the victims.
“It’s very sad. It’s an area where people have lunch every day,” he said.
Stay with NBC Washington for more details on this developing story.