A U-Haul and an FDNY ambulance collided, sending the U-Haul careening into four parked cars and then into the front of a Classon Avenue building.
Two ambulance workers and a third person were taken to area hospitals with moderate injures, from the accident, which happened at about 10:07 a.m. at the corner of Classon Avenue and Park Place, an FDNY spokesman said.
Winston Congal, a security guard at a nearby building, was standing near the corner when he saw the ambulance, with lights on and sirens blaring, going through a red light on Park Place when the U-Haul came driving down Classon.
“He (the U-Haul driver) was coming so fast I said, ‘Who is going to stop now?’” Congal said.
When he saw the ambulance, the U-Hall driver swerved, preventing a full-on crash, but the ambulance still hit the U-Hall on the back corner, causing it to careen wildly, hitting four empty parked cars including a 1999 Dodge Stratus that was pushed up, Congal said.
"It went up in the air, it was like it was about to fly,” he said.
Then the U-Hall plowed through the front door of a private building narrowly missing Chavella’s, Congal said.
“This U-Haul driver, he drove so well. Had it gone into the restaurant there would have been dead bodies,” Congal said.
An hour after the accident, FDNY personnel surveyed the U-Hall, which had entered several feet into the building, as well as the row of crushed cars.
The U-Haul was lodged inside what used to be Pluto Gallery, 730 Classon Ave., but luckily it's been empty for awhile, said the owner, who lives upstairs.
Clusters of area residents stood gaping at the wreckage, with several noting how lucky it was that Chavella’s didn’t have a large crowd today and that there were no serious injuries.
And the owner of the Stratus took the abrupt departure of his vehicle in stride.
“What are you going to do?” said Tony Rivera, looking over his car that was now crushed like a tin can and joking that the insurance company probably wouldn’t make him try to fix it. “I’m just glad that nobody was hurt.”
Sean Carlson contributed to this report.
Note: The location of the crash was corrected on May 23, 2011.