Man injured after being struck by SUV that crashed into Melrose Avenue business

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A man was hospitalized with a serious leg injury after a vehicle crashed into a restaurant on Melrose Avenue Saturday. (KABC)

A man was hospitalized with a serious leg injury after a vehicle crashed into a restaurant on Melrose Avenue Saturday.

The incident happened at Tere's Mexican Grill in the 5800 block of Melrose Avenue, authorities said.

"The last thing I saw was him get smashed by the car into our building. In my mind, I was like oh man I just witnessed a fatality. This just turned into the worst day of my life," manager and co-owner Roberto Melgar said.

The 26-year-old victim and a friend were eating outside the restaurant when the speeding SUV suddenly lost control.

"All of the sudden I just saw a car coming out of the corner. It really did the most professional drift I've ever seen in my life, like straight out of a movie, like 'The Fast and the Furious,'" Melgar said.

Melgar realized the SUV was coming straight toward the restaurant. One of the men outside managed to get out of the way, but the other was hit as the vehicle smashed into the building.

"I just see the guy laying, and I'm like, 'OK, everybody clear out. I need gloves, towels. Just move away.' I (told him) stay calm, breathe in and out. I took the towels and pressed it on his leg," good Samaritan Shakora Sykes said.

The man was rushed to the hospital with a serious leg injury.

Authorities said the driver fled the scene, ditching the SUV just around the corner next to a Pavilions grocery store.

Melgar said he hopes the driver will do the right thing and turn his or herself in, but also said what really matters is the innocent victim.

"When you've seen a guy go down, just his face as the car hit - it's something that will probably never leave my mind ever, I will never forget...I just pray he's all right," Melgar said.

The investigation is ongoing.
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