Volume 19 Issue 48 | April 13 - 19, 2007

A car crashed into Hop Kee on Mott St. just after 4 a.m. Saturday, injuring one passenger but no one outside or inside the restaurant.

Car slams into Chinatown restaurant, 1 injured

By Chris Bragg

A car plowed into the entrance of the Hop Kee restaurant in Chinatown early Saturday morning, taking out two walls at the building’s entrance weighing a ton each.

One female passenger who was sitting in the back seat of the dark blue 2006 Honda Accord was hospitalized, according to police. The driver and the two other passengers in the vehicle were not hospitalized. A witness said the injured passenger was carried on a gurney to the ambulance with a facial injury, but police had no information on her injury. The restaurant was open when the car crashed at 4:15 a.m. but no one else was injured, police said.

Police would not release any more information about the driver, the passengers or the cause of the accident. Photographs taken of the driver at the scene, however, show a woman in her early 30s. She was not charged with a violation or issued a summons, police said.

Witnesses said the driver was driving fast down narrow Mott St. when she charged into the building, which is at 21 Mott St. Jan Lee, who lives in the building, was shaken out his sleep by the collision.

“It sounded like a bomb,” Lee said. “It shook the whole building.”

Hop Kee, which has been on Mott St. for nearly 40 years, is often busy after midnight on the weekends with patrons getting a bite to eat after a night on the town. The area around the stairwell entranceway, which leads down to the basement restaurant, is often crowded with people entering and exiting, or smoking a cigarette, according to the restaurant’s owner, Peter Lee.

“Thank God nobody was in the stairway when they crashed,” he said. “I feel happy that no one got hurt. That’s the bottom line. Thank God.”

Peter Lee had a crew of contractors on the scene within hours. They built a temporary handrail in the stairwell and the restaurant reopened by Saturday night. But building management estimates the damage could be in the tens of thousands of dollars.

“Those walls are pretty heavy,” Peter Lee said. “You have to go pretty fast to knock down both sides.”

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