A driver who mistakenly put her car in drive rather than reverse plowed into a Dunkin’ Donuts shop Monday morning, sending six people to the hospital, one in serious condition.
An elderly man who was hit by the runaway Honda Accord inside the shop was left bloodied and suffered possibly life-threatening injuries, while five other customers and employees sustained minor injuries.
Miami-Dade Fire Rescue responded to the call at the store at 8290 W. Flagler St. shortly after 10:45 a.m.
Tagging along for the ride: U.S. Rep. Carlos Curbelo. The Miami Republican, who favors increased funding for first responders, began his day with a tour of Fire Station 37 in Southwest Miami-Dade and planned to answer reporters’ questions afterward.
But then the call came, and Curbelo — who wore a Fire Rescue polo shirt bearing his name and had already been to an earlier emergency call — was whisked away to the crash scene. He rode in an unmarked department SUV with Omar Blanco, the president of the Local 1403 chapter of the International Association of Fire Fighters.
“It’s very tragic,” Curbelo said as he surveyed the scene.
Maria Berreto, an employee who suffered a minor injury to her wrist, said she was tending to a customer when she heard the crack of glass and saw the car in the middle of the store.
“All we know is when the glass shattered, the car was inside,” she said.
The car was towed away shortly before noon, leaving behind glass shards and its front bumper. Firefighters turned off the gas inside the building and checked the store’s structural integrity; it appeared to be sound, said Felipe Lay, a spokesman for the Miami-Dade Fire Rescue.
Curbelo said the accident spotlights the work firefighters do on a daily basis, stressing the need for beefing up resources for local first responders.
“It highlights that they need the resources to do their work.”