The Dairy Queen restaurant in downtown Parksville does not have a drive-through window. But staff and patrons were surprised when a car made a sudden turn into the building Thursday afternoon, June 22.
A Port Alberni couple suffered bruises but avoided major injury after their Chrysler Neon left Highway 19A, leaped onto the sidewalk and struck a stoplight pole before caroming into the side of the building at about 4 p.m.
The accident left the light pole embedded in the front left fender of the sedan and the stoplight dangling just just off the ground in front of the crosswalk connecting the Dairy Queen to Community Park at McCarter Street.
No pedestrians or other vehicles were involved and nobody in the restaurant was hurt, said an RCMP officer at the scene. The driver and passenger were taken to hospital, treated and released.
“(The driver), for whatever reason, the vehicle in front of him stopped, and to avoid a rear-end collision he turned out and hit the pole,” said Tyrone Heigh, assistant fire chief with the Parksville Volunteer Fire Department.
The driver said he suffers from a damaged nerve, and when he attempted to brake for the vehicle ahead, “I couldn’t feel my leg,” he said. He was driving in the left lane before swerving to the sidewalk.
He said he will no longer drive until he has had the nerve condition treated.
Traffic was limited to one lane on Highway 19A southbound, and the westbound lane of McCarter Street was blocked by emergency vehicles.
A Dairy Queen employee said none of her co-workers witnessed the crash, but that “it sounded like somebody fell over on the back of a chair. Then everybody jumped up and ran over to the window.”
Multiple people called 911 from the restaurant, said another employee.