Down South Barbecue and the UPS Store on A1A North in Ponte Vedra Beach are recovering this week after a regular customer of both businesses accidentally plowed into their stores with her red Cadillac Tuesday, Nov. 21.
According to Deputy Nate Datsko, who was dispatched to the scene by the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office, the driver of the car was an older woman whose foot had slipped off the brake pedal and onto the accelerator, causing the car to crash into the stores. Although the businesses’ front windows and the wall that separates them were damaged, no one was injured by the incident—a fact for which staff of both stores are grateful.
“Luckily nobody was hurt,” said Wally Monnig, owner of Down South Barbecue. “We had one lady out front that was waiting on a ‘to-go’ order. She wasn’t 8 feet from where it happened, and she went running for her life. It was just an interesting experience that got a little scary.”
According to Monnig, glass was blown about 30 feet into his restaurant, and it was a mere twist of fate that removed him from the path of the car, which crashed right into his usual spot at the cash register.
“I was walking back to the kitchen to take dishes back, and just heard a big boom,” he said. “I’m lucky I wasn’t standing there.”
UPS Store Manager Erica Vona echoed Monnig’s sentiments, stating she was shocked, but thankful that no one was harmed.
“There was no one on the sidewalk, there was no one in the parking lot,” she recounted. “It just happened so perfectly that nobody got a scratch on them, nobody was hurt.”
Having since resumed full operations, staff at both businesses are determined not to let the incident bring them down.
“We’re just chalking it up to a Tuesday,” Vona laughed.