Investigation continues into an overnight hit-and-run accident that destroyed city and business property downtown in the 100 block of South Broadway early Saturday morning.
Lorraine and P.J. Cirgenski, owners of Sticky Buns Bakery, say they were back in the kitchen around 2:30 a.m. Saturday morning preparing for the day when they heard a loud noise resembling a boom, followed by glass breaking in front of the restaurant.
“I thought the ceiling had fallen in which made the windows fall out or something, and P.J. thought the ice machine fell over,” Lorraine explained. “When I saw the Coweta American paper box destroyed outside, I thought someone had hit our car. When we ran out the door to check and saw all the damage, we saw a black SUV driving off. It was too far away for us to see anything as it was at least a block down the roadway.”
The southbound vehicle appeared to have jumped the curb just north of the restaurant and continued to travel south on the sidewalk. The driver took out the newspaper box, a decorative lamp post, an embedded trash receptacle, stairway railing, one outdoor dining table and three outdoor dining chairs.
“We heard the glass breaking, and believe the big boom we heard was when the driver tore the railing off,” P.J. noted. “It almost sounded like an airplane had hit the shop. It woke everyone up throughout the neighborhood and neighbors were coming up here to see what happened.”
It appeared the SUV launched over the stairway leading down the sidewalk to Cypress street and grazed the stop sign pole at the corner. A cable flung back and hit the side of the Cirginski’s car which was parked just south of the restaurant.
The stairway railing, which had a metal banner sign still chained to the bottom, was flung across the street.
“There were no brake marks and no skid marks, the driver never hit the brakes,” Lorraine said. “There was a big debris field, even in the middle of the street, and we didn’t touch anything because the police needed to see everything.”
“There was radiator fluid and parts everywhere, leaving a pretty easy trail to follow,” she added.
The Cirginskis say they can only imagine what would have happened had they been walking around the corner to go to work at that time when the SUV jumped the curb.
“If we had been outside, we would have run up to the corner to see what was going on and we would be gone - there would have been nothing we could have done about it,” Lorraine said about the moving vehicle. “We could have been unloading the car in front of the shop and the SUV would have taken out our car. The railing could have gone through our car instead of by it.”
“There are a lot of would haves and could haves had it been a little earlier, a little later or with customers coming in any of these businesses. There are a lot of people who come up and down those stairs. It’s really scary,” she added.
A full report with suspect information is expected in the days ahead.