A Calvert County man was charged yesterday after a car plowed into a crowded Chi-Chi's restaurant in Glen Burnie during a celebration of Mexico's national holiday, injuring three people.
The incident began Friday night with an argument between a man and his girlfriend in the restaurant in the 8000 block of Ritchie Highway, according to an Anne Arundel County police spokesman.
Sgt. Edward Bergin said the boyfriend left the restaurant, got into his 1993 Lexus ES 300, lined up to the entrance, spun his tires and rammed through a double set of glass doors about 10: 45 p.m.
The car continued about five or six feet into the restaurant, according to general manager John McVey.
Gary Middlebrooks, 43, of Millersville said he was sitting in the bar having nachos and margaritas with his wife when he heard what sounded like "an explosion."
"He just drove right in through the door. Another 10 to 15 feet, he would have hit the DJ," Middlebrooks said. "He could really have killed people."
Cee Cee Middlebrooks, his wife, said that hundreds of people were inside the restaurant for a Cinco de Mayo celebration.
"Glass shattered everywhere when the incident happened," she said. "One woman rolled over and just lay there after being hit. It was frightening."
Two women sitting in the vestibule were injured. Police said they were not involved in the domestic dispute.
Deborah Grant, 45, suffered a broken leg and was taken to North Arundel Hospital. Her daughter, Michelle Grant, 17, was pinned between the front end of the car and a wall but was not seriously injured.
A restaurant manager was cut in the face by broken glass.
The driver's girlfriend was not injured, police said.
After the impact, the driver backed out of the restaurant, spinning his tires, and took off.
"After that, the festivities ended," Bergin said.
Maryland State Police, alerted by restaurant patrons who called from their cellular phones, stopped a man who was driving west on Route 100 at the Baltimore-Washington Parkway.
Kris Montell Collins, 22, of Prince Frederick was charged with two counts of reckless endangerment, two counts of first-degree assault, three counts of second-degree assault and single counts of malicious destruction of property, driving while intoxicated, leaving the scene of an accident, reckless and negligent driving and driving on a suspended license.
Collins was being held yesterday at the Anne Arundel County Detention Center in lieu of $175,000 bail.
McVey said the incident forced the restaurant to close yesterdaymorning while the doors were replaced. He said he expected the restaurant would reopen and continue its holiday celebration last night.