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PORT HUENEME : Unlicensed Boy Drives Van Through Window

February 05, 1995|RODNEY BOSCH

A van driven by a 16-year-old car-wash employee crashed through the glass window of a Port Hueneme restaurant after the youth lost control of the vehicle while trying to maneuver it through an automated washer, police said Saturday.

The Ford van jumped a foot-high planter and smashed through the window of Lau's Garden Restaurant in the 2500 block of North Ventura Road on Friday after the teen-ager inexplicably gunned the engine, Port Hueneme police said.

The van came to rest partly inside the dining room, which sits just behind the carwash-gasoline station. The accident happened about midday, and no patrons were in the dining area at the time, said Ed Cabrera, part owner of the restaurant.

The driver, whose name was not released, was not injured, authorities said.

On Saturday, the van had been removed and workers were clearing away debris near the boarded-up window.

Restaurant employee Carlos Ortiz, 22, who was sweeping up glass, said he was standing in the dining area when the car jumped the planter.

"He was coming right at me. I saw his face," Ortiz said. "I could tell he didn't know what he was doing." Though Ortiz was able to run out of harm's way, he ended up with a few nicks on both arms where flying bits of glass struck him.

The boy was not licensed to drive a car, authorities said.

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