LIVERMORE -- Chuck McCallum was sitting at his table eating his lunch at Strings Cafe on Monday afternoon when a rumbling that "felt like an earthquake," he said, started. Moments later, he turned to see a white Cadillac Escalade SUV crash through windows and walls, coming to a stop just behind him.
His first reaction, like that of most around him, was: Somebody had to have been crushed, either by the truck or the debris.
Miraculously, McCallum was wrong. The early afternoon wreck inside the crowded cafe at 2205 Las Positas Road injured only one person seriously, Livermore police Sgt. John Hurd said. That person, who suffered a broken leg, was taken by ambulance to a hospital.
Three other people were treated for injuries at the scene and released. The driver of the Escalade, an elderly man who told police he mistook the gas pedal for the brake, was not injured, Hurd said.
"We got really lucky considering that the restaurant was in the middle of lunch hour," Hurd said. "We're really thankful.... All the stars lined up and it was the best possible scenario we could have asked for."
The wreck occurred about 12:45 p.m., when the driver of the Escalade put his foot on the gas instead of the brake and tore through the restaurant, Hurd said. Police said drugs and alcohol don't appear to be factors. Police did not release the identity of the driver.
Wassim Suliman, the cafe's owner, said he was home, but his wife was there
"This is all replaceable," he said of the damage to the establishment. "The first thing that came to my mind was casualties. I don't want to say I'm happy, but I'm very happy no one was (seriously) injured."
Suliman said the restaurant suffered a similar incident in 2009 when a female driver confused her car pedals and drove onto the cafe's patio and clipped the building.
Suliman said he had about five employees inside the restaurant at the time of Monday's crash. None were hurt.
Suliman said business was slow for a Monday.
"Any other day, it would've been a disaster," he said.