NORTH STONINGTON, Conn. (WTNH) — A tractor-trailer crashed into a restaurant in North Stonington, state police said Thursday.
Troopers said the vehicle hit Buon Appetito Ristorante & Pizzeria located at 386 Norwich-Westerly Rd. at around 7:50 a.m. The truck drove right through the wall and destroyed the outside patio.
Emergency personnel and fire crews responded to the scene with state police.
The tractor-trailer was driving east on Route 2 when it reportedly crossed the center line and the empty oncoming lane of traffic. It then hit the mailbox, drove through the parking lot, and into the building.
The tractor-trailer’s driver was taken to a hospital for evaluation, state police said.
“The driver was conscious and alert. Now visible life-threatening injuries at the time of transport,” said Chief Charles Steinhart of North Stonington.
Troopers said the tractor-trailer was reported to be carrying unspecified consumable goods. The state Department of Consumer Protection responded to evaluate the integrity of the cargo.
The state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) also responded to the scene.
The restaurant owner Petrit Marku is thankful his family is safe after the crash, as his wife Minela and their son had spent the night at the restaurant.
Minela said she heard a loud bang this morning and knew something had hit the building. When she went outside and saw the driver in the cab she said he told her “I’m sorry I fell asleep.”
“It’s not like it was 5 o’clock in the afternoon when it’s full of people outside and inside. Nobody got hurt. Nobody’s dead. This is most important,” said Petrit Marku, the owner of Buon Appetito.
The restaurant owners also own a construction company called A Beautiful Company and built this restaurant themselves 12 years ago.
Within hours of the crash construction workers were on scene cleaning up debris and securing the building. There was also a structural engineer on hand. The plan was to get that part of the restaurant, that dining room, isolated so the rest of the restaurant could reopen. The restaurant re-opened at 4pm for dinner.
Marku who said he loves his employees and needed to do what he needed to do.
The cause of the crash remains under investigation.
No additional information was immediately available. Check back for updates.