Shock as car hits restaurant three times

A car was driven into the front of Pizzeria Bello in Attleborough. Owned by Ionel Baluta.

A car was driven into the front of Pizzeria Bello in Attleborough. Owned by Ionel Baluta. - Credit: Archant Norfolk

An Italian restaurant owner has described how a Volkswagen Golf ploughed into the front of his premises three times.

Ionel Baluta, who runs Pizzeria Bello in Queen's Square, Attleborough, was busy preparing food in the kitchen of his restaurant at 10.30am yesterday when he heard a 'boom' sound that shook the walls. He rushed outside to find the car embedded in the building close to a window.

He said to compound matters, the driver, who was believed to be in her 80s, then hit the wall a second time close to the door after attempting to reverse out of a parking space in front of the restaurant. The third incident happened a short while later when the vehicle struck close to The Gold Shop, next door.

Mr Baluta said: 'There was a boom and I went out to have a look and saw the car embedded in the wall. I never expected anything like this to happen.'

He added on the second occasion a table and chairs were also struck, though fortunately there were no diners present, while the third smash happened seconds after a woman had walked past with her child and her pushchair, leaving them in shock.

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Insurance assessors are due to visit the restaurant on Monday to look at the damage, though Mr Baluta vowed to stay open for business unless he was told to do otherwise.

The first crash left a hole in the wall and bricks strewn on the pavement underneath the window frame, while the second hit damaged plaster and pushed in the wall on the other side of the door.

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Mr Baluta said he would like metal railings to be installed on the pavement as there is only two metres of kerb separating the parked cars from shop fronts in Queen's Square.

Adam Marshall, owner of the Gold Shop, described hearing a loud bang before rushing outside to see the car.

He said: 'I just thought maybe there had been an accident out there and I thought a car had been reversing and maybe hit another car, but when I went out there the first time I was amazed to see Ionel standing there trying to get her to stop.'

A police spokesman said they had details of two crashes, adding that police arrived after the first hit and assessed the driver before checking the vehicle and deeming her fit to drive.

However, upon trying to leave the scene she then collided again with the building.

She added: 'If a crime has not been committed and there is no medical or mechanical reason to prevent the driver from leaving the scene, officers are unable to take further action. In this case the lady was deemed medically fit to drive and the vehicle had received little damage.'

• What do you think needs to be done about the Queen's Square parking bays? Email

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