FOREST HILLS, Queens (PIX11) — [EXCLUSIVE] A freakish city snow plow accident Thursday night sent a terrifying avalanche of ice and debris into a Queens restaurant, shattering windows and sending patrons scrambling for their lives, injuring several people.
“It kind of sounded like a bomb went off. It was the loudest noise I ever heard in my life and I was typing in an order,” said employee Blane Boyd, who saw glass flying across the restaurant, Exo Cafe, on Austin Street in Forest Hills.
The Department of Sanitation told PIX11 News it has conducted an investigation of the accident, which happened shortly before 11 p.m., and is seeking disciplinary action against the operators of the equipment.
Police said the truck hit a garbage can full of ice, which was propelled into the restaurant’s vestibule. The plow operator left the scene of the accident, but was immediately located, police said.
The accident’s frightening aftermath inside the restaurant was caught on security camera video obtained exclusively by PIX11 News.
“You see in the video how much water how much force actually came inside here,” said restaurant owner Peter Kambitsis. ”There’s no excuse.”
At the same time on another security camera, a snow plow can be seen driving past the restaurant. Kambitsis said his staff called 911 after the accident.
A 35-year-old man and a 27-year-old woman were taken to North Shore LIJ hospital with minor injuries.
Kambitsis said about 40 people were in the restaurant when the accident happened.
Kambitsis said he wants answers from the City’s Department of Sanitation, and has filed a claim for damages.
“It sent a legitimate wave of water,” into the restaurant, Boyd said.
The Comptroller’s Office said there is no record of a legal claim being filed at this time, but say that could be due to processing delays caused by the federal holiday.