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Passenger describes car crashing into Geneva Denny’s
Geneva, N.Y.- "I thought we were going to die," said Carmela Guererri, describing the moment the car she was riding in crashed through the brick wall of the Denny's in Geneva Tuesday Night.
Six people were checked out at various hospitals including a three year old boy. All of them were later released.
Carmella was headed to the restaurant around 8 p.m. to meet friends for coffee. She had a front row seat, and now has quite a story to tell.
"I don't know how we got out of there without a scratch," she says from the living room of her home in Geneva.
The totaled car with smashed in window is a reminder that this could have ended quite differently.
Carmela who is 79 years old was with her friend Kathy Drooby who was driving. They were pulling into the parking space when she says the car "malfunctioned."
"She's not a crazy driver, we're older and we were going slow," she explained. "As she turned it went off by itself, just lunged. She tied to put the brake on and yelled it wouldn't stop."
The Chrysler crashed through the side of the building. Carmen remembers every vivid detail.
"I cannot believe all the shattering glass and the impact!" she said. "You can't believe what that feeling is! I thought we were going to die!"
The car came to rest in the middle of a dining booth that had been occupied earlier in the evening.
"The restaurant employees said they were very busy just 20 to 30 minutes earlier," said Sgt. Martin Gochenaur of the Ontario County Sheriff's Department.
Four people including the three-year-old from Schenectady were hurt by fallen debris. A man from Germany suffered a broken leg.
"We heard people screaming and babies crying," said Carmela. "The fire chief came in and said everybody out! This building is not safe."
A preliminary manual test of the brakes after the crash shows they were working. Investigators have downloaded the car's recorder to check for other mechanical problems. Charges are not likely to be filed.
A day later it appears the restaurant sustained the worst of the damage.
It remains closed while the injured patrons are all home from the hospital. Carmela has a possible explanation of why she was spared: a prayer square given to her by a friend and stashed in her pocket.
"I'm checking my pockets after the crash and that prayer square was in there," she said. "Maybe that blessed us, I don't know."