Man reverses convertible into Schenectady Blue Ribbon Diner

SCHENECTADY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – A car crashed through the walls of a popular Schenectady diner right around lunch time on Tuesday.

The crash sent several people to area hospitals. Schenectady police at the scene of the Blue Ribbon Diner said the call came in around noon.

Police said the car was parked in a handicap spot, and the 87-year-old driver was backing up when he crashed the convertible through the restaurant wall.

“It sounded like somebody with glasses just dropping and ‘kapoosh,’” Timothy Kochan of Schenectady said.

Kochan and his grandson were terrified as the convertible came through the building. He then saw smoke, and customers started to run outside.

blue ribbon diner schenectady

“The owner’s wife came running out, and she said to us, ‘Get out. Get out,’” he recalled.

But Kochan got a closer look.

A 72-year-old woman was walking by when the car hit her and she became pinned between the car and the building, according to police.

“Well, you feel bad because you can’t do nothing,” Kochan said. “The poor lady’s hanging in there, and the guy is in shock – the older guy who was in the car. I thought he was dead almost. He’s just sitting there in shock; total shock.”

Three people who were inside and eating at the restaurant were also injured.

First responders arrived to the scene moments later. They removed the elderly woman. She was airlifted to Albany Medical Center with serious injuries and is in stable condition.

The three customers inside the restaurant were taken to Ellis Hospital with minor injuries and are expected to be okay. 

Some everyday people also helped with the rescue at the restaurant.

“I went directly to the car to see if there was anyone underneath. At that time when I got there, there was a woman above the vehicle…” said Raimundo Pacheco, witness of the scene. “She kept repeating, ‘Please help me. Please help me.’ I comforted her by saying we are going to do the best we can miss, getting debris off, police and the ambulance are on their way.”

The driver was also taken to the hospital for evaluation but was not injured. 

“Our main concern right now is for those people,” Blue Ribbon Diner manager Phillip Menagias said. “We don’t care about the damage or who did it or how it happened.”

Schenectady police are still investigating exactly what caused the crash. The car was removed from the diner Tuesday evening.

The diner’s owner said they hope to reopen on Thursday.


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