Manchester Police have released further information about Monday’s accident, in which a vehicle crashed into the Sunset Family Restaurant on the west end of town.
Police say the driver was 64-year old Joseph Axline Jr. of Manchester. The official accident report released Wednesday says around 4 pm, Axline pulled his SUV in front of the restaurant to park when the vehicle accelerated into the front door. Axline told police he then put the vehicle into reverse and continued backing up to the north end of the parking lot until the vehicle got to the sidewalk along West Main Street. He told police he then put it back into drive and the vehicle accelerated until it hit the building – going through the exterior wall and large glass window. The vehicle traveled to the end of the dining room, where it came to rest.
Axline and his passenger were checked by emergency personnel. Police say they suffered only minor cuts and scratches. Owner Penka Ismaili says there were several customers inside the restaurant at the time, but no one was sitting in the dining room at the time of the crash. No one inside the building was injured.
Damage to the Sunset Family Restaurant was estimated at 20-thousand dollars. Damage to the building itself, owned by Joel Reinert, has been estimated at 30-thousand dollars.
Clean-up started Tuesday and the Sunset hopes to re-open in two to three weeks.
Police are continuing to investigate what caused the vehicle’s accelerator to malfunction.
Axline’s vehicle was a 2006 Chevy Equinox. The ARFC website lists several complaints of 2006 Chevy Equinox drivers who have had problems with their accelerator malfunctioning. We weren’t able to find an official recall on that specific vehicle for that issue.
(photos by Janelle Tucker, KMCH)