SUV crashes into Lahaina eatery

No injuries reported at Paia Fish Market

A white SUV is seen partially inside Paia Fish Market on Front Street in Lahaina on Sunday morning. Police said that the SUV’s 67-year-old female driver accidentally accelerated and drove into the restaurant, breaking through a window and a portion of the wall. No one was injured. ANATOL EISELE photo

The Maui News

No one was injured when a vehicle crashed into the side of Paia Fish Market in Lahaina on Sunday morning, after the driver accidentally hit the gas while parking outside the restaurant.

At about 11:15 a.m. Sunday, a 67-year-old female driver was trying to park her white sport utility vehicle in a marked stall across from the restaurant on Front Street, police spokesman Lt. Gregg Okamoto said. The driver backed into a parked car, and while moving forward accidentally accelerated and plowed into the restaurant, breaking through a window and a portion of the wall.

General manager Anatol Eisele was cooking in the kitchen when he heard the crash. He hurried out to the dining room and saw clouds of dust from the broken concrete. The car had crashed at an angle and was about halfway through the restaurant.

“People were screaming and (in a) panic, but nobody got injured,” Eisele said. “They were pretty in shock.”

Chairs and tables were broken. Glass bottles of ketchup and hot sauce were shattered on the floor. About 40 to 50 customers were in the restaurant at the time, Eisele estimated. After seeing that the customers were OK, restaurant employees went to check on the driver, who was also uninjured.

Police on the scene observed no impairment by the driver, Okamoto said.

“It was pretty unbelievable that absolutely nobody got hurt or injured, because it was the sunny side (of the restaurant), and even with the air conditioning no one wanted to sit there,” Eisele said. “It was random luck the other side was full.”

The restaurant closed for the remainder of Sunday, but will be open today and for the duration of the repairs. Eisele said that the restaurant planned to put in a temporary wooden retaining wall Sunday night.

Police had no estimates for the damage as of Sunday afternoon. However, Eisele said that the property is “fixable” and that he’s glad no one was hurt.

“People are really funny. They were like, ‘Can you still cook our meals?'” Eisele said.

“We cooked two more meals, and then we had to stop.”