Minivan Jumps Curb, Rams into Tribeca's Roc Restaurant

Minivan knocked over a stop light before crashing into Roc restaurant early Sunday morning. Photo: Rocco Cadolini

Dec. 29, 2014

Porfirio Gutierrez, the overnight main­tenance worker at Tribeca’s Roc rest­aurant, at the corner of Duane and Greenwich streets, was buffing the floor of the restaurant at 4:45 Sunday morning, Dec. 28, when he heard what sounded like a speeding car barreling down Greenwich Street.

Then came the screech of tires.

“I thought he was going to crash somewhere down the block. I didn’t think he was going to crash into the restaurant,” Gutierrez told the Trib when he returned to work the next night.

But the white minivan, apparently attempting to make a left turn from Greenwich Street onto Duane, jumped toppling a stop light, knocking out the restaurant’s iron railing and crashing into a cement column of the building, inches from the plate-glass window. The window was pushed in but not shattered and there was no damage to the restaurant’s interior.

“When he hit, I let go of the polisher and I felt the shock of the collision through the floor under my feet. I was shocked,” said Gutierrez, who was alone in the closed restaurant and about 15 feet from where the car struck. “I thought he was going to end up inside and I ran for cover.”

Gutierrez said the driver remained behind the wheel, seemingly stunned. When he went to check on him, Gutierrez said, the driver was uninjured and asked for a phone to call his parents. When the driver’s parents arrived, he said, police on the scene allowed the driver to leave with them.

Police said the driver, 20, was not under the influence of alcohol and was not arrested nor issued a ticket. Police declined to identify him.

Gutierrez said he often sees the car parked nearby on Greenwich Street and believes the family lives across the street. On Sunday, part of the car’s front end along with pieces of wrecked railing lay on the restaurant platform.

Owner Rocco Cadolini, who lives nearby, quickly arrived at the scene.

“I was surprised after this huge smash that the driver wasn't hurt,” he said. And as for the damage to the restaurant's exterior, “It’s a major job to be done.”

Additional reporting by Luis Morales