Police in Arlington, Virginia, are investigating how a ride-share driver crashed his vehicle into a busy Courthouse neighborhood restaurant Friday evening, injuring at least 15 people.
Around 6:45 p.m. Friday, Arlington County police were dispatched to the area of the Ireland’s Four Courts in the 2000 block of Wilson Boulevard on reports a vehicle had crashed into the restaurant, the department said in a news release.
On arrival at the scene, police said they assisted patrons in evacuating the building and began providing medical care moments before the vehicle caught fire within the restaurant. The fire was soon extinguished by the Arlington County Fire Department.
“Undoubtedly, the decisive actions of the arriving officers to run directly into the building and remove patrons saved lives,” Arlington County Police Chief Andy Penn said in a statement.
Later Friday evening, the building housing the restaurant was determined by engineers to be structurally sound despite the damage but unable to be inhabited for now.
A GoFundMe page launched on behalf of the restaurant has raised nearly $50,000 as of Sunday morning.
An initial investigation into the crash “indicates the driver of the vehicle, who was operating as a ride-share driver and had a passenger at the time of the incident, was traveling north on N. Courthouse Road when he left the roadway and crashed into the restaurant,” the release stated.
The driver and passenger of the ride-share both sustained nonlife-threatening injuries and were transported to a hospital.
According to police, nine patients in total were hospitalized. Of those, two remain in critical condition, one is in serious but stable condition and six were treated for non-life-threatening injuries.
Arlington Fire and EMS said in a Friday night update that six other people had been treated at the scene, but were released.
— Irelands Four Courts (@irelands4courts) August 12, 2022
Mary Reilly, a server working inside the restaurant, told WTOP’s Kyle Cooper the crash felt “like an explosion.”
Doug Samuelson, of Annandale, who was in the area during the crash, told WTOP’s Dave Dildine that it sounded like a “truck crashing into a building.”
The flames, Samuelson said, were shooting some 12 to 15 feet high, and there was an acrid smell.
Police do not yet know why the car crashed.
Arlington Fire and EMS said building engineers have evaluated the building and found it “structurally sound, but could not be reoccupied.”
— Sarah (@sarcchang) August 12, 2022