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A Normal police officer investigates the scene after a sports utility vehicle plunged through the front door of Moe's Southwest Grill, 1730 Bradford Lane, at 11:25 a.m. Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2019. Three restaurant patrons were injured.

NORMAL — Sydney Hall counts herself lucky. 

Hall, of Normal, said she arrived at Moe's Southwest Grill just after an SUV crashed into the front of the restaurant at 1730 Bradford Lane around 11:25 a.m. Tuesday.

Three people were injured and a fourth was treated at the scene but declined transportation; their conditions were not known Tuesday afternoon, but police earlier said none of the injuries appeared to be serious. 

“I forgot my wallet in my house and had to go back in and get it and that took some extra time,” said Hall. “If that had not happened, my roommate and I probably would have been getting drinks at about the time it happened.”

The Normal Fire Department transported the three injured people to local hospitals, including the driver and two patrons. Their names were not released, but Hall knew one of the injured.

“I saw a lot of blood and then I saw my dad’s best friend,” who was taken to the hospital, she said. “He was supposed to meet my dad and he asked me to call him (her father) and tell him he wouldn’t be there.”

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Normal Fire Department paramedics remove victims after a sports utility vehicle plunged through the front door of Moe's Southwest Grill, 1730 Bradford Lane, at 11:25 a.m. Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2019. Three restaurant patrons were injured.

At least two of the injured were carried out on stretchers.

“The thing I will remember is that I looked down and saw a salt and pepper shaker covered in blood,” Hall said. “It really shook me up. I wanted to help in whatever way I could, but also wanted to stay out of the way of the firefighters and police. I am just so thankful I forgot my wallet for a minute.”

A fire department spokesman said one of the patrons was pushed into a pile of tables that had to be removed.

In addition to those who were taken to the hospital, about 11 people were in the dining room at the time of the crash. They were checked by paramedics but declined medical treatment.

Officials don’t yet know what caused the driver of the SUV to crash into the dining area — whether it was a medical incident or something else.

Normal Police Sgt. Adam Kapchinske said it appears the driver was pulling into a parking spot just outside the front doors and did not stop.

Witnesses said the vehicle was traveling from west to east across the parking lot and crashed into the west side of the building through the glass doors. The doors to the west entrance were shattered, leaving the sidewalk covered with glass.

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Normal firefighters watch as a sports utility vehicle is removed from Moe's Southwest Grill, 1730 Bradford Lane, after it plunged into the restaurant around 11:25 a.m. Tuesday.

The vehicle ended up about 30 feet inside the restaurant. It knocked down about a dozen tables and benches and ended up toward the rear of the restaurant, witnesses said.

According to Normal fire officials, the majority of the tables, chairs and booths were damaged or destroyed in the crash. The crash also damaged several windows in the restaurant that opened at 11 a.m. for the lunch crowd.

“Luckily it wasn’t very busy,” Kapchinske said. “Good thing it wasn’t Moe’s Monday, or else this could have been a lot worse.”

The restaurant is an independently owned and operated franchise, said Moe's public relations and communications manager Lindsay Haynes.

"We are fully cooperating with the Normal Police Department as they look into this situation," Haynes said. "The Normal, Illinois, Moe’s is currently closed and will reopen at further notice.

"At Moe’s Southwest Grill, the safety of our guests and associates is our top priority and we take this situation extremely seriously."

The crash did not appear to have caused structural damage to the building, though the front doors and some panes of glass will need to be replaced, Kapchinske said. 

Officials do not think the crash was an intentional act.


Photos: Three hurt as SUV plunges through Normal Moe's Southwest Grill

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Kelsey Watznauer contributed to this report.

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