Driver Crashes into La Jolla Restaurant

The driver told witnesses he was trying to park when he jumped the curb and struck three teens

By R. Stickney and Gene Cubbison
|  Monday, Aug 16, 2010  |  Updated 8:29 PM PDT
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Car Crashes into Cass Street Bakery

NBCSanDiego

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Driver Crashes into La Jolla Restaurant

The driver told witnesses he was trying to park when he jumped the curb and struck three teens.

Cass St. Bakery and Cafe Crash: Raw Video

Cass St. Bakery and Cafe Crash: Raw Video
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A man drove his car into teenagers walking along a La Jolla sidewalk and crashed into the Cass St. Bakery and Café, pinning a customer underneath the car.

There were several people inside the café located at La Jolla Blvd and Forward Street when the accident happened at 6:30 p.m. Sunday.

Police say the driver, 66-year old Ronald Troyer, clipped the center divide on La Jolla Blvd. and then continued onto the sidewalk where five teenagers were walking. Two were able to jump out of the way, but three were hit.

Mary Camarda works down the street from the cafe and said she stopped after Troyer's car, right behind her, veered off the roundabout curb inside the traffic circle on southbound La Jolla Boulevard, and up the sidewalk into the cafe.

"He was saying, 'Oh, y'know, I was just trying to park the car'," she said Monday. " He had no remorse. He wasn't even thinking about the damage he did and the children that he injured. He could have cared less; he was, like, staggering, and he was totally out it."

Merchants and residents in the area told us they know him as a Bird Rock "regular" who's often seen riding his bike and believed to hang out at some sort of crash pad in the neighborhood.

Investigators say Troyer has had his license suspended several times after DUI convictions and had no current license to drive.

Police describe him as a transient; property records show he once owned a house in the Hidden Valley Road area of La Jolla; a spokesperson for the current owner told us Troyer inherited the house from his parents a few years ago, and quickly sold it to a woman who then sold it to the current owner.

Camarda said the crash into the cafe could've easily been deadly.

"I say this young boy lying here, and glass and debris, and the boy was injured. And then I walked over here and saw all the glass and the girl under the car and a lot of blood. It was just awful," she said. " I was so grateful to know that none of these young people were killed. I mean, I thought there was definitely a fatality."

When officers arrived they found a man was pinned in the restaurant, Rohowits said. That man was taken to Scripps La Jolla, with serious injuries.

Three teenagers, two males and one female, believed to be about 14 years old were struck by the vehicle, according to San Diego Police Lt. David Rohowits.

The teenagers suffered from fractures and other injuries, police said. Two of them were transported to Rady’s Children’s Hospital and one was transported to Scripps La Jolla according to Perry Peake, San Diego Fire Rescue.

County engineers were called to the scene to examine the building. SDG&E was also called out because the car hit an electrical box during the crash.

Police say Troyer will be officially booked once he's released from a "precautionary" hospital checkup for possible injuries he suffered in the crash.

They say investigating officers determined him to have been at least under the influence of drugs -- although toxicology screenings may indicate some level of alcohol in his system.

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