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Cause of car crash into restaurant unclear

November 29, 2010 12:00:00 AM PST
Investigators are still trying to determine what caused a driver to crash into a Highland Park hamburger restaurant, leaving a woman dead and three others injured.The violent crash happened Saturday afternoon at Troy's Burgers on York Boulevard near Armadale Avenue.

Surveillance video shows the family calmly eating and looking out the window. Then in a split second, the car slams through the wall, stopping when it hits the counter. The car can be seen landing on people as others scurry away.

In the chaotic scene, some tried to help the victims. Martha Pena, 52, was killed.

The driver has not yet been identified. However, video shows officers giving him a field sobriety test. Investigators said he passed the DUI test and so far has not been charged.

He is 19 years old and allegedly told police he doesn't remember what happened.

Neighbors like Emma Perez said the family has lived in the area for years.

"The entire neighborhood here is like family," Perez said.

Perez said she had just seen them Saturday morning and they were planning a trip to New Mexico to visit relatives. She found it strange that their van was still parked outside the house Sunday morning. That's when they found out about the tragic accident.

Inside Troy's Burgers, some of the tables and benches were strewn about and smashed.

Some customers went by Monday to see what happened.

Irma Diaz said she often eats at the restaurants and sometimes sits in that same booth. She knows some of the workers and wanted to see if they were OK.

"When I saw the car on the news, it reminded me that the cashier is right in front of it," Diaz said.


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