At least five people, including two children, were injured when a suspected stolen vehicle ran a red light and crashed into a truck and a Mexican restaurant near a busy intersection in Escondido Thursday night, police said. Two people were arrested.
The crash was reported at around 10:15 p.m. by a witness who saw a Subaru SUV swerving and believed a drunk driver was behind the wheel, EPD said. The witness then reported to police the SUV had run a red light, slammed into a truck and crashed into a restaurant on the southwestern corner of the Valley Parkway-Fig Street intersection.
The restaurant was Frida's Street Tacos and while there were people inside the restaurant at the time of the crash, no one inside was injured, EPD said.
An NBC 7 crew went to the scene of the crash and saw the SUV inside the restaurant among a heap of shattered glass, tables and debris. There was also a pickup truck with front-end damage in the intersection.
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The driver of the truck was launched from the vehicle and suffered life-threatening injuries, police said. He was transported to Palomar Medical Center and his condition was not disclosed.
Inside the Subaru -- which police say was stolen from a victim who was held at knifepoint in a parking structure in Oceanside about 20 minutes before the crash -- were six people: two men, two women and a 3- and 5-year-old child.
The women and children were taken to local hospitals for treatment of minor injuries.
The two men, identified as Hans Velasquez, 20, and Anthony Quezada, 19, took off from the scene and were detained a short time later. Both are facing charges, EPD said.
Frida's owner Gracy Ayala said one of her employees tried to help passengers stuck in the crashed SUV but the driver told the employee to leave them alone.
"The guy said, 'No, no. Just leave her. Leave her," Ayala said, retelling the driver's response to Ayala's employee attempting to help a passenger who appeared to be injured. " So [the driver] walks to the door [of the restaurant] and I'm hoping they're just trying to get out of the car and sit out here and maybe wait for the police, but no, they took off."
Velasquez was believed to be the driver of the vehicle. He was arrested on charges of carjacking, felony DUI, felony hit-and-run and child endangerment. Quezada was arrested on a carjacking charge.
Ayala said Thursday's crash was the second time under her ownership that a vehicle had crashed into her shop.
“A year ago, we had the same thing going through this window, so I was thinking same thing, same window, I never thought that it was this one,” Ayala said.
Escondido police continue to investigate the crash while Oceanside police are conducting an investigation into the carjacking.