NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A 37-year-old man was killed when a car crashed into several vehicles and an outdoor dining structure Thursday in Queens.
Police say it appears the driver was trying to get around another car. CBS2’s John Dias spoke with a passenger in that car.READ MORE: NYC Mourning NYPD Officers Wilbert Mora, Jason Rivera After Deadly Ambush In Harlem
“You could just see something bad was about to happen,” Tom Mountfort told Dias. “We both just go, ‘woah, woah, woah,’ because you can see the driver is not going to be able to stop.”
Watch John Dias’ report —
Mountfort said a woman driving a Mercedes tried to get around them, but the 60-year-old crashed through a dining structure outside the Peruvian restaurant Rosatoro on 35th Street near Ditmars Boulevard in Astoria around 7:45 p.m.
“She went through the entire structure, the long way,” he said.
The car jumped the curb and hit a tree, which is now uprooted.
“Thank God for the tree, because it would have went right through the restaurant, as well,” said Mountfort.
Police say road rage may have been a factor. The driver also hit two parked cars and fatally struck Xing Lin, a food deliveryman who was riding a Yamaha motorcycle in the bike lane.
“I saw the gentleman who sadly passed away. They were working on him. He left very quickly,” Mountfort said.
Lin, a married father of two, was a deliveryman for another nearby restaurant.
The driver and a person dining in the restaurant were taken to area hospitals, but both were expected to be OK.
While no one was in the outdoor hut at the time, many are reconsidering how safe they are.
“I won’t eat in any of those outdoor things,” Astoria resident Mindy Reiss told Dias. “Think about if people were out there on a nice evening.”READ MORE: Bald Eagle Spotted At Central Park Reservoir
“I never felt safe about it, because I felt like it’s too close to the cars,” said resident Jared Gonzalez.
There is ZERO tolerance for reckless driving. I feel incredible pain for Xing Lin’s family.
New York City will continue to deepen our commitment to Vision Zero. Outdoor dining is safe and we'll continue to protect pedestrians and outdoor diners alike. https://t.co/Z0RWc7ftM4
— Mayor Bill de Blasio (@NYCMayor) April 30, 2021
Workers say although they are extremely saddened, they are also grateful for several small miracles.
For one, the general manager had moved diners inside earlier due to the weather.
Phil Collins, with the hospitality group that runs the restaurant, says a couple had just been sitting where the car came inside but had gotten up from the table just moments before.
“I don’t know who was watching over them. It’s truly one of those things that you look at and it’s like, wow, that was a miracle,” Collins told CBS2’s Alice Gainer.
Collins says the debris did knock one woman off her feet, but video shows “her stand up with the dog actually and kind of walk away.”
The newly remodeled $15,000 outdoor structure had also just been completed last week.
“A structure can be replaced as many times as it needs to be. A life cannot,” Collins said.
Mayor Bill de Blasio tweeted about the crash Friday, saying the city has a “ZERO tolerance for reckless driving.”
“I feel incredible pain for Xing Lin’s family,” he added. “New York City will continue to deepen our commitment to Vision Zero. Outdoor dining is safe and we’ll continue to protect pedestrians and outdoor diners alike.”
The restaurant says it will be collecting money for the victim’s family and also for the workers who are temporarily sidelined while the restaurant is closed.
The NYPD Highway Division is still finalizing its report, looking into everything including how fast the woman was driving.
Police say the driver is still in the hospital and has not been arrested or charged.MORE NEWS: Landmarks Preservation Commission OKs Designs For Delacorte Theater Makeover
CBS2’s John Dias contributed to this report.