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SUV crashes into entrance of Chicago restaurant, police say

Driver crashes SUV into Chicago restaurant
Driver crashes SUV into Chicago restaurant 02:06

CHICAGO (CBS) — An SUV crashed into a Near South Side restaurant early Saturday morning.

The crash happened at the Chicago Oyster House at 1933 S. Indiana Ave. just before 3 a.m.

Chicago police say the male driver of a GMC Yukon attempted to make a left turn and swerved into the front entrance of the restaurant, causing extensive damage. The entire SUV was seen in the middle of the dining room. 

The owner says the crash happened during a critical time for his restaurant.

"We won't be able to open today or a few days, and it sucks because we, it's been slower this spring. Now we're getting really busy again. We have a bunch of private events booking, and I'm not sure if I can host them with this damage," he said.

Rick Cheng has been in the business for 20 years, but he never expected a restoration crew inside his restaurant. 

"I got a call at 3:00. Got here probably about 3:20," he said. 

The overnight call came from a tenant living above the restaurant. 

"He called me and said, 'There's a car in your restaurant.' I'm like, 'What do you mean a car in my restaurant?' He's like, 'There's a car. Ran into your restaurant, and there's a lot of police cars.' Then I hung up, and I just rushed over," Cheng said. 

The front window is shattered. 

"Frame sticking out, glass all over the place," he said. 

And inside Cheng's restaurant was a large, white SUV. Cheng said the driver told police he was making a left turn and swerved to avoid another car. He missed the car but not the restaurant. The SUV took out the window and half a dozen tables. 

"Oh yeah, ton of tables knocked down," Cheng said. 

Then, the vehicle slammed into the server station, knocking down two computers. 

"He's actually trying to back up and move back and forth," Cheng said, watching surveillance video of the incident. 

By the time the driver stopped moving, Cheng said he had done about $10,000 in damage. 

The driver was not hurt, but as soon as he got out of the car, police greeted him at the giant hole inside the Chicago Oyster House. 

"Bit of a surreal upset. A little bit angry," Cheng said. 

The windows are boarded up, but Cheng said the full restoration of his restaurant could take weeks.  

"We've been slower this spring, and it's finally picking up with the conventions coming to town. And it couldn't happen at a worse time," he said. 

Cheng said the private event scheduled at the restaurant for Saturday night would go on as planned. 

So far, no charges or citations have been made against the driver.

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