BREAKING: Car Plows into Pizza Hut

by ARLnow.com February 7, 2013 at 1:05 pm 2,325 98 Comments

(Updated at 2:30 p.m.) A car has plowed into the front of a Pizza Hut restaurant on Lee Highway.

Arlington County police and firefighters responded to the Lee Centre shops on the 3300 block of Lee Highway just before 1:00 p.m. for a report of a car into a building. Upon arrival, they found a Honda Fit hatchback that had driven through the front door of the Pizza Hut. Half of the car was in the restaurant, stopped only by the order counter.

The 86-year-old female driver was extricated from the car by firefighters, according to Arlington County Police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck. She suffered no visible injuries but was taken to a local hospital for evaluation.

Amazingly, even though it was lunch time, there were no customers inside the store at the time of the accident. Four employees were inside at the time, according to police, but nobody was hurt.

The car was removed from the building by a tow truck around 1:30 p.m. An Arlington County building inspector has determined that there is no structural damage to the building, but the restaurant will be boarded up until its front facade can be repaired.

Photo courtesy @CAPT258

  • Scarlet Knight

    Isn’t it easier to use the drive through window?

    • drax

      Dangit. Missed it by 11 minutes.

      • Hee-Haw

        no, you missed that pizza hut doesn’t have a drive-thru window.

        • drax

          It does now.

          • Hee-Haw

            Hardy Har Har…

    • Ivy

      Good one, Scarlet!!

  • bob

    well, I was wondering why every fire truck in the county was converging there. Really guys — 8 trucks — include the ladders? Why???

    • Firefighter

      Here we go again with questioning why the fire department sends such a large response to incidents. Do you people realy have nothing else to do? A car crashed through a building. There are so many reasons why a large response is needed. I think common sense would dictate why its needed.

      • DON

        i AGREE

      • Chris M.

        I think that common sense dictates that if a bunch of firefighters hear that an old lady ran her car into a building, as many as possible will show to up to check it out. Everybody needs to stop acting all offended. Firefighters included.

    • Juntao

      They always do this and I don’t know why. Biggotry thats why.

      • ridic

        You do not need 8 trucks and ladders…such bs…quit wasting county dollars on gas so you guys can go stare at an accident.

        • ridictillitsyourhouse

          Do you tell everyone how to do their job? I’m glad that you took the time out of your busy day to let us know how concerned you are with the high cost of fuel. So believe it or not, first responders witness some pretty gruesome and in certain instances traumatic events. An airplane flew into a building in this county and there were trucks at the Pentagon burning up fuel for weeks after, I don’t remember hearing too much concern then. I’m not sure if you’re way too liberal or just way too stupid… There are protocols and procedures involved in emergency response, much like the omniscient position you hold. Lets face it, your tax dollars pay these people to put their lives on the line to protect or save yours when called upon. Go fill up your Prius and complain about the dog parks or something you’re better suited to comment on. Thank you ACFD and ACPD.

          • esmith69

            What makes you think the comment was posted by someone who’s liberal? I was actually assuming they were more of the tea partier type that complains whenever government has to spend any kind of money.

          • drax

            That was hardly a “liberal” comment, genius.

          • Beano

            For some people liberal means anything I don’t agree with.

          • Caroline

            I wish I could “like” this ^

        • drax

          Thanks, Internet Armchair Quarterback.

    • Joe

      Because if the building had caught on fire or gasoline had leaked from the car, four guys and one engine wouldn’t have been enough to deal with it.

  • JamesE

    Maryland plates

    • Nope

      Not Maryland plates. The text, although scrambled, is clearly blue and Maryland requires a front license plate.

      • JamesE

        I was joking, BRO

      • JamesE

        and VA requires a front as well, it is now inside the pizza hut

      • Arlington, SSR

        Doesn’t VA require one as well?

      • Buckingham Beauty

        He made that comment before ArlNow updated with photos that show the rear of the car. At first, there was just a side view.

  • Gary

    Jesus, granny. Time for the old folk’s home.

    • Buckingham Beauty

      Time for a granny roundup!!

      • b0rk

        Aren’t the Obamacare Death Camps going to take care of that soon? That’s what Sean Hannity told me last night.

  • nom de guerre

    Automatic Transmission.

    • drax

      WRONG! You can clearly see a stick when you turn it sideways, and Honda only built a manual in…hey, wait, you’re joking.

      • DCBuff

        Wrong! Honda Fits come with the option of either manual or automatic transmission. Oh, wait, you’re joking.

        • drax

          WRONG! This Honda Fit is clearly a manual, because if you use Photoshop to alter the pixelation you can see that there’s a slight bulge in the left rear chassis that indicates the presence of the linkage bolt that…oh, wait, you’re joking.

  • Andy

    I’m surprised that a car can get up enough speed to do that in that parking lot!

  • CA

    Where is there a pizza hut on Lee Highway? Yes, I could just google it . . .

    • IHearYa

      I also wondered because I pass Lee Highway 2x a day but I think I finally figure out where it is – so if you are going towards the Italian Store (and it’s on your left), the Pizza Hut is in that little strip mall that has a pet grooming place and a settlement co.

    • Buckingham Beauty

      It’s across from the Shell station at Lee Highway and N. Kenmore.

  • Honda

    The Nav said right turn on Wing Street

    • Buckley

      Well done. Just really a great job there.

  • A-Town

    Is this the way to country kitchen buffet? Anyways, no great culinary loss.

  • Buckingham Beauty

    Apparently, this is a new Honda model, the “Doesn’t Fit”.

  • Buckley

    “Amazingly, even though it was lunch time, there were reportedly no customers standing in front of the counter at the time of the accident.”

    Umm, actually not all that amazing. The sign on the front door offering “Pizza Sliders” certainly can’t be helping attract business.

  • Mike

    I’m mildly impressed that a Honda Fit had enough power to go through a glass wall, though apparently the counter was too much for it to handle.

  • PizzaTheHutt

    I’m suprised the Fit did not Flip

  • John Fontain

    Two things:

    1. I’m amazed that Redman Towing beat Advanced Towing to the scene. I’d expect Advanced to have towed the car away even before the emergency responders got there.

    2. This is clearly nothing but a blatant commercial advertising piece for Pizza Hut’s new Sliders slyly disguised as a real news report. Arlnow, you should be ashamed of yourself! Pizza Hut has you firmly in their back pocket.

  • fedworker

    This would’ve NEVER happened if granny took a streetcar to Pizza Hut. Just sayin.

    • Barney

      Lee Highway used to have a street car (until the fire department stood around watching it burn to the ground).

  • Tabs

    If this had been the Italian Store, there might have been car-nage.

  • happycyclist

    some might ask if we should continue to allow cars on our streets, since so many drivers are scofflaws.

    I think more education is a better approach.

  • Hank

    That looks like a shockingly small amount of front end damage to the Honda considering it crashed through plate glass and bricks.

  • Blame

    I’m going to go ahead and say there was an excessive amount of grease in the parking spaces directly in front of the restaurant that is a direct result of drippings from delivery and pick-up pizza. This is no fault of the woman, the spaces were a death trap!

    How does anyone eat that pizza? It’s like eating a vat of grease with some cheese in it.

    • drax

      “How does anyone eat that pizza? It’s like eating a vat of grease with some cheese in it.”

      Exactly. Yummmmm. Grease with cheeeeese.

    • JamesE

      The car slipped on a large pile of garlic someone dropped after eating there.

      • WeiQiang

        now we know how ArlNow got the photos so fast.

  • fedworker

    surveillance video please.

  • Wow&Flutter

    Yikes! Isn’t Brown’s Honda just down the street?

    • Pole-hole

      Spatially-speaking, it is UP the street.

      These strip mall businesses confound me, why not install a metal bollard at the end of the parking space, just before the curb? Is it a cost/benefit issue, an ADA issue, the bicycle lobby or something else? It would have saved this place and the Baskin Robbins at Lee-Harrison some cash…in the long run.

      • cyclist

        Why would cyclists not want a bollard at the end of a parking space?

        It’s probably a cost and appearance thing.

  • Deadite

    At what point are we going to take seriously the risk posed by elderly drivers? Once they hit 70 they should have to pass an eye and driving exam every year. This old hag could have killed several people.

    Honestly, I’d rather get in a car driven by a semi-drunk 30 year old than a sober 86 year old.

    • JoeBlow

      Haha….didn’t even see your comment before I posted!

      • Deadite

        (Keanu Reeves voice): Whoa.

    • JamesE

      100% agree

    • LEFant44

      Nice to use the words “old hag.” I hope if/when you achieve this age, younger people disparage you in a similar manner. It shouldn’t have happened, but there was no need to call her a name. As to her license, if the DMV thought there was any reason to think she couldn’t drive, they would have tested her:

      Virginia drivers who are 80 years of age or older at the time their current driver license expires are generally required to renew their license in person at a local DMV office. The renewal packet will tell you which method of renewal you are eligible for. In addition to taking a vision test every time you renew in person (see below), you may in certain situations be asked to take a written knowledge test as well.

    • KathyInArlington

      Well, DEADITE, you are obviously a drinker and I would not care to ride with you under any circumstance. By the way, I will be 68 in March and am hardly an “old hag.” What kind of title do you bestow on 70-year-old men?? There are probably some 86-year-olds out there that are more on the ball than you are, so I would take care in disparaging all those that age.

      • Deadite

        How am I obviously a drinker?

  • JoeBlow

    If you think a dead sober 86 year old woman is a safer driver than a 30 year old male with a .08 BAC you’re absolutely out of your mind.

    • drax

      Which would you rather hitch a ride with?

    • Blame

      What is wrong with you people, it was clearly an abundance of grease that caused this.

    • Deadite

      I just realized another thing — you only need to pass a driving test once to get your license and you basically never have to take another one again (unless you have your license revoked or something). If this woman got her license at age 16, that was SEVENTY years ago. 1943!! The Allies were still a year away from storming the beaches of Normandy, for God’s sake.

      • JamesE

        If she got her license in 1943 at least she can drive a manual!

      • John Fontain

        “If this woman got her license at age 16, that was SEVENTY years ago. 1943!!”

        Did the method of driving an automobile change since then?

        • malaka

          she clearly is in need of instruction on texting while driving

    • m

      Some states (Illinois, for one) require drivers over a certain age (70 or 75 maybe, I’m not sure) to renew their drivers licenses every year, including taking road and vision tests. It seems like a good policy to prevent people from continuing to drive after their faculties start slipping.

    • novasteve

      I’d rather get in the car with a 30 somthing who had a .2 BAC than a 86 year old sober person…I’d prefer to get into neither car, but if I were forced do, I’d pick the .2 BAC person over the geezer. You guys don’t know how common these accidents are.

      • ARL’ian

        30-somethings kill plenty of people every year, because of recklessness, negligence, aggressiveness or drunkenness.

        • cmc

          Hi young things. You have no idea what a menace 20 and 30s-somethings are to the world at large. I grew up around here driving and now I’m 56, and you youngsters are clearly the biggest problem. Most don’t recognize a stop or yield sign–I’d rather drive around an older person.

  • McChipstah

    The Only Thing That Stops a Bad Hut wit uh Pizza Is a Good Granny wit uh Honda

  • novasteve

    This is why everyone should drive manuals. It would keep incompetent drivers off the road.

    • Hee-Haw

      Why is this ? I’d really love to know your obsession with manuals…

    • JamesE

      If I left my car in 1st and dropped the clutch before applying the ebrake it would have gone through the wall as well.

      • novasteve

        No you wouldn’t. Your car would lurch a little bit then, stall. This car never stopped moving forward until something got in its path or the car was shut off or the transmission put into park.

        • JamesE

          So wrong steve, it’s called low end torque, it starts in 1st with zero gas.

          • DCBuff

            This is one of those occasions, rare though it may seem, when Steve is correct. Low end torque has nothing to do with it. The car would to have to have been on the curb/sidewalk immediately in front of the store to have moved far enough (the “lurch”) for it to have gone through the storefront if it was dropped into first without a foot on the gas.

          • JamesE

            DCBuff, believe me my car will move forward sans gas in 1st and keep going, I am just presenting a case where steve saying it is impossible to happen in a manual is wrong. Grandma isn’t going to be driving a high torque sports car but it can happen in a manual.

          • JamesE

            I will say it wouldn’t be anywhere near as much damage as it would be going 5 mph

          • Deadite

            James what kind of car do you drive? I’d love to know, since it possesses the only manual transmission I’ve ever heard of that will move the car from a dead stop without touching the gas.

          • JamesE

            It has a 6.2l V8 ill say that, plenty of cars with big v8s can’t start from a stop with no gas

          • Greg

            @Deadite, I can get my drive in 1st with no gas. It won’t go very fast and would probably stall if I completely dumped the clutch. But I can absolutely start it in 1st with no throttle.

    • Ricardo

      I wonder if it’s possible to fit the Internet with a manual transmission.

  • James Moron

    I was waiting for the “grab” part of the smash and grab. Was expecting hoodie-clad Fairfaxians with hammers in their hand stealing pizza.

  • McChipstah

    New Arlington Business: Elder Drive-Ins…coming to a fast food establishment near you!

  • novasteve

    So their insurer will sue her auto insurer for not only the cost to repair it, but also the lost business from when it will be closed,, etc….

  • fedworker

    Looks like a Nannytainment driver was getting ready to pick up some pies for a party.

  • Paid Consultant

    Having conducted numerous studies for government agencies, I have seen numerous fire departments that operate without good business plans and without the ability to review themselves. A consistent problem includes inflexibility in discussing change and rejecting any new ideas. Weak political oversight leads to bloated budgets that grow unabated. If the reports of 8 units responding to a traffic accident are accurate, then it is time for the political leadership to review the operations.

  • ovostephe

    Cyclists are the most dangerous threats on the roads! Look at how many people they are killing! Look at how many accidents they are causing! Every day, even if you can’t see the cyclist in the picture! I know it’s there. Somewhere.

  • Nasty

    “Amazingly, even though it was lunch time, there were no customers inside the store at the time of the accident.”

    Apparently you haven’t eaten there, its really not surprising at all.

  • Skippy Johnson

    In my opinion, every driver should have to take a road test when renewing their license starting at age 70 and every 5 years following (to ensure that they are still physically able to handle a car and have good reaction times). A motor vehicle is an extremely dangerous object in the hands of someone who is not capable of operating it properly and safely.

    • Buckingham Beauty

      Then why only that age range? Teenagers cause more accidents than the elderly do, if I recall correctly. Perhaps we should have teens take tests more often.


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