McDonald's friends count their blessings

By Mike Dinsdale -
Police and firefighters at the Kamo McDonald's where an elderly driver hit a pedestrian before ploughing into the fast food outlet. Photo / John Stone
Police and firefighters at the Kamo McDonald's where an elderly driver hit a pedestrian before ploughing into the fast food outlet. Photo / John Stone

A woman's "intuition" not to sit in her usual spot in Kamo McDonald"s saved her and a friend from being harmed when a car smashed through the outlet's front window right next to where they would have been sitting.

A woman in her eighties was taken to hospital yesterday after she drove into the Kamo restaurant. She also hit a woman pedestrian while driving into the fast food outlet, who was also taken to hospital with minor injuries. Emergency services rushed to the scene just after 9.40am when the elderly woman's Subaru Impreza accelerated into the front of the restaurant.

Acting Sergeant Bill Jordan, of Kamo police, said the woman was trying to avoid another car that was reversing out off a parking spot in front of McDonald's when her foot got stuck on the accelerator. Mr Jordan said the woman is understood to have hit a female pedestrian, believed to be in her teens or early 20s, before smashing into a window, leaving shattered glass spread over the floor and a dent in the front of the building.

The Northern Advocate spoke to two women who had been in the restaurant at the time of the accident. The women, who did not want to be named, said they felt lucky not to have been hurt after one of them had a feeling not to sit in their usual spot.

The woman - who call themselves the "sick kids' support group" as they both have children with serious health issues - meet at the restaurant every Tuesday morning to support each other and catch up over a coffee.

"We were going to sit in our usual spot when Thelma (her nickname for her friend) said 'let's sit at the back', the woman, who is referred to as Louise by her friend, said.

She said they sat down and within seconds heard a loud crashing noise that sounded like the outlet's drink machine toppling over and looked around to see the car shattering the window.

She tended to the driver while her friend went to tend to the injured pedestrian until an ambulance arrived.

"It looked like the driver was trying to avoid another driver who had pulled out of a carpark right in front of her," 'Louise' said. "It's just very luck that nobody got seriously injured."

"Thelma" said her intuition just told her not to sit in their usual spot. "We're both very spiritual people and I just had this feeling not to sit at the front and so suggested we go to the back. We're just really lucky that we did."

The elderly woman was taken to Whangarei Hospital with minor injuries and in shock, while the younger woman was also taken to the hospital with a relatively minor hip injury and both were released after treatment.

It was the second accident involving an elderly motorist driving into a Whangarei shop in less than a month. On January 25, a woman was left with broken bones when a Suzuki Liana, driven by a 73-year-old man, ploughed through the front of the Cheesecake Shop on Tarewa Rd. The injured woman was shielding her young daughter from the crash when she was hit while standing in line at the Cheesecake Shop.

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