Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Car crashes into Hurricane Restaurant in Pass-a-Grille, injures diner

ST. PETE BEACH — The driver of a car pulling into a curbside parking space plowed into the patio area of the iconic Hurricane Restaurant in Pass-a-Grille Saturday, pinning a diner.

Witnesses said several patrons on the patio immediately rushed to the car and lifted it enough to pull the man from underneath the Ford sedan.

"Everybody just reacted," said Mike Kirbry, 46, of St. Petersburg.

The man, who was eating with a woman on the outside dining area, was rushed to Bayfront Medical Center, St. Pete Beach police said.

No information was immediately available about his identity or condition.

St. Pete Beach police Sgt. Ray Anthony said the driver of the vehicle, also not identified, was pulling one of the diagonal parking spots on Gulf Boulevard when the car suddenly accelerated.

"We assume he hit the gas instead of the brakes," Sgt. Anthony said.

Jo Brooks, 54, of St. Petersburg said she was just a few feet away when the accident occurred. Nearby, another family sat with a young toddler in a high chair. She spotted the driver pulling into the parking space.

"He didn't stop," Brooks said. "I heard the engine getting louder, like it was accelerating."

Witnesses say both the man and his companion were sitting at one of the picnic tables located outside the Hurricane with their backs to the street.

The car passed over the curb and the wooden patio railing before hitting the man.

The woman he was with appeared to have seen the car coming, witnesses said, and managed to get herself out of the way.

When the vehicle stopped, "her rear was sitting on the hood of the car," Kirby said.

The man was pushed forcefully on top of the picnic table, which collapsed. His legs were trapped beneath the bench and he was bleeding from the head.

"It's taken me all this time for my heart to stop beating so fast," said Brooks, who added that the driver of the car, which had a female passenger, appeared distraught.

The Hurricane is a three-story restaurant overlooking the Gulf of Mexico. It's known for its grouper sandwiches, relaxed atmosphere and great sunset views from the third story patio.

It opened in 1977.

Car crashes into Hurricane Restaurant in Pass-a-Grille, injures diner 06/02/12 [Last modified: Saturday, June 2, 2012 11:20pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Heights Public Market to host two Tampa Bay food trucks


    TAMPA — The Heights Public Market announced the first two food trucks for its "rotating stall," which will feature new restaurants every four months. Surf and Turf and Empamamas will be rolled out first.

    Heights Public Market is opening this summer inside the Tampa Armature Works building.
[SKIP O'ROURKE   |   Times file photo]

  2. Mariners lose lefty Drew Smyly to Tommy John surgery


    SEATTLE — Drew Smyly was the centerpiece to one of Seattle's many offseason moves by general manager Jerry Dipoto. He was a priority acquisition as a proven lefty for the rotation the Mariners believed would thrive pitching at Safeco Field.

    Drew Smyly will undergo Tommy John surgery after being diagnosed with a torn ulnar collateral ligament. Seattle announced the diagnosis on Wednesday, ending Smyly's hopes of returning during the 2017 season. [AP photo]
  3. Author Randy Wayne White could open St. Pete's biggest restaurant on the pier

    Food & Dining

    ST. PETERSBURG — The story begins with Yucatan shrimp.

    St. Petersburg Deputy Mayor Kanika Tomalin, pilot Mark Futch, Boca Grande, St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman, and author and businessman Randy Wayne White,  Sanibel, exit a Maule Super Rocket seaplane after taking a fight around Tampa Bay off the St. Petersburg waterfront, 6/28/17.  White and his business partners are in negotiations with the City of St. Petersburg to build a fourth Doc Ford's Rum Bar & Grille on the approach to the St. Petersburg Pier with a second event space on the pier according to White. The group met near Spa Beach after a ground breaking ceremony for the new pier. "We want to have our business open by the time the pier opens," said White. Other Dr. Ford restaurants are located on Sanibel, Captiva and Ft. Myers Beach. SCOTT KEELER   |   Times
  4. Busted: How a Times photographer captured Donald Trump's fake news


    Tampa Bay Times photojournalist Scott Keeler was on assignment last summer for a story about Donald Trump’s presence in Palm Beach, a tale of glamour and conflict. Along the way he inadvertently captured evidence of a …

    Near the main entrance at Mar-a-Lago, the fake Time magazine cover is on display in July 2016.
  5. Jones: Steve Yzerman's plan for getting the Lightning back into the playoffs

    Lightning Strikes

    BRANDON — Seems like forever since the Lightning played a hockey game.

    If the Lightning season started right now, would Steve Yzerman be happy with what he has? "We're still a couple of players short,'' Yzerman said.. [DIRK SHADD   |   Times]