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Kia hops curb, careens past outdoor diners in Santa Ana; bystanders restrain driver

Witnesses restrained a man who tried to run away after his white sedan hopped a curb, sped past people eating on a street that was closed to accommodate outdoor dining and then crashed into a parking structure in Santa Ana Sunday, May 2.

The chaotic events leading up to the crash on the 300 block of W. 3rd St. happened at about 11:45 a.m., Santa Ana Police Cmdr. Robert Rodriguez said. Footage recorded at the scene of the crash showed a white Kia Optima with a smashed front-end that was leaking fluids next to the entrance of Artists Village Parking.

Branson Yates, 32, of Santa Ana, works at nearby restaurant Chapter One and was taking a customer’s order in patio space set up on W. 3rd Street Sunday. He said there were at least 50 people in the outdoor dining area when the sedan went racing past them.

He and others dodged away from the curb, then watched the car slam into a raised flower bed next to the entrance of the parking structure. Its driver then exited the Kia and ran, Yates said.

“Some people went after him and had to hold him down until police got here,” he said.

Santa Ana police investigate a crash downtown on W. 3rd Street, which was closed to accommodate outdoor dining Sunday when a car careened down the sidewalk and slammed into a parking structure. (Photo by OC Hawk)

The driver of the vehicle appeared conscious as he lay on a stretcher and was loaded into an ambulance Sunday afternoon. He was later arrested on suspicion of DUI, Rodriguez said. His identity was not immediately released.

There were no reports of injuries from anyone in the dining area, Rodriguez said. Diners returned to finish their meals after sending posts to social media about the incident, while police taped off portions of the street, Yates said. Most businesses on 3rd Street seemed to escape major damage, and were able to remain open Sunday, Santa Ana Police  Cpl. D. Garcia said.

Source: Orange County Register

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