Car hits diners outside Raleigh restaurant

September 6, 2011 5:47:22 AM PDT
A woman who was hit by a car, along with her two friends, while dining in an outdoor seating area at a Raleigh restaurant Sunday afternoon said she felt disoriented.

Just before 2 p.m., a Lexus sedan lurched forward, hit a table full of diners and then crashed through the front glass window of Noodles and Company in the Cameron Village shopping center on Daniels Street.

"I thought, 'Oh crap, this car's not going to stop,'" said 31-year-old Suzanne Vogel of Raleigh. "I just felt things shifting and my body moving. And I didn't know what was going on."

Vogel and her friend, 31-year-old Karellan Haire of Garner, had only minor injuries, but a third friend, 68-year-old Judith Igelman of Wake Forest, was badly hurt.

"After I found my glasses on the ground there were already 20 people gathered around my friend who was most severely injured," Vogel said. "She had a badly cut up leg."

No one inside the restaurant was hurt, but patrons and employees were among the many who came out to help the injured as the driver became hysterical.

"It was very chaotic, a lot of different people rushed in to try and help," witness Brian Dean said. "A lot of broken glass and stuff, a lot of things to get out of the way. People moving tables out of the way, just so everybody could have the ability to help the people that were hurt."

Dean said when the driver of the car stepped out and saw what had happened she began crying.

According to Dean's wife, the 55-year-old driver said she stepped on the gas instead of the brake as she was maneuvering into the parking space in front of the table.

"She kept saying, 'I tried to stop. I tried to stop,'" Vogel said.

Police later identified her as Betty Jo Boykin Sledge of Winding Trail in Raleigh.

Igelman is still hospitalized at WakeMed in serious condition.

Vogel says she feels for the driver and just glad it was not any worse for anyone involved.

"We often don't realize how lucky we are until we come close to being unlucky," Vogel said.

Police had not filed any charges as of Monday afternoon.

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