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Driver whose car slammed into Panera had ‘significant trauma’

Posted at 7:25 PM, Oct 06, 2015
and last updated 2015-10-06 19:25:30-04

COLONIAL HEIGHTS, Va. – It was lunch time at the Panera Bread on Southpark Boulevard in Colonial Heights when the peaceful meal time was interrupted by a car careening into the building.

"If anybody would've been crossing her path, she would've ran them over," said an eyewitness.

"I saw a car come flying past us on the right, and went through the stop signs," said another eyewitness, who, along with his girlfriend, wish to remain anonymous.

"The car went up and down a couple of times and then jumped the curb, and smacked into the Panera," he said.

He said they got out of their car to check on the driver.

"I noticed an elderly woman slumped over into the passenger side," he said.

After calling 911, he tried talking to her.

"It took us a couple of minutes of yelling, ‘Ma'am are you okay? Trying to open the door,’" he recounted.

He said she started moving.

The building will be closed for until repairs are made.

The building will be closed for until repairs are made.

"When she started moving, she reached the door to unlock the door,” he said. “And we opened the door, and she kept saying she was hot, she was out of breath, she just needed air.”

The couple said they told her not to move.

Fire and police officials arrived and the woman was med-flighted to the hospital.

"Sounds like they had significant trauma," said Joe Boisseau, Colonial Heights police.

Police wouldn't release the cause of the crash.

"The back side of the building is actually the cooking area of the kitchen area," Boisseau said.

The employees inside were not hurt.

Police also have not released the identity of the driver, or said if charges will be pressed.

As for the victim, the Good Samaritan who stopped to help is hoping she recovers.

"My thoughts are with her right now.  I pray for her and her family," said the man.

The Panera Bread is closed until the building is deemed safe for customers and employees.

CBS 6 reached out to the Panera’s corporate office to find out when it will reopen and the extent of the damage.

We will post an update after they assess the situation and respond to us.