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Driver mistakes gas for brake, crashes into BBQ restaurant

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LA MESA, Calif. -- A man who crashed his SUV into a barbeque restaurant in La Mesa Wednesday afternoon said he mistakenly hit the accelerator instead of the brakes.

The driver entered the strip mall parking lot in the 6100 block of Lake Murray Boulevard, when, instead of slowing down, he hit the gas and drove 100 yards before crashing into the patio of West Coast Barbecue and Brew.

"He was going really, really fast. All you heard was 'boom, boom, boom, boom' of him hitting everything," said Angela Hunt, who was working at the urgent care facility next door. "I screamed, all the patients in the lobby turned. I thought he was getting ready to come through the front of the clinic 'cause the car was coming straight towards it. That's when he went through the bushes right here and hit the beam in front of the building and kind of sideswiped off the building and then just came through and hit all the poles and all the trees."

She called it a miracle that no bystanders were hurt on the normally crowded walkway.

"Thank God he didn't hit a person or a car 'cause this could have been a lot worse than it was," Hunt said.

"After it happened there was a ton of people who responded to him which was really nice," said Angie Valencia, an employee at the restaurant. "There was like three of us at the time that got out immediately. He was perplexed a little bit. The airbags had gone off and it was smoky inside."

The driver suffered minor injuries but is expected to be OK.

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