A man who was eating at a restaurant in Crystal Lake pushed his wife out of the way just before he was seriously injured by a car that crashed into the business Thursday evening.
The Crystal Lake Fire Rescue Department and Crystal Lake Police Department responded around 5:30 p.m. Thursday to Buffalo Wings and Rings, 1520 Carlemont Drive in Crystal Lake, for a vehicle crash with injuries.
Crystal Lake Deputy Police Chief Thomas Kotlowski said a preliminary investigation showed a Nissan Altima was traveling westbound in the parking lot.
The Nissan was attempting to park when it continued driving over the sidewalk.
The vehicle struck the building, fully breaching glass windows, before coming to a rest inside the business.
Four adult victims were transported by ambulances to a local hospital for treatment of their injuries, Kotlowski said.
The victims suffered injuries ranging from serious to minor.
Jim Wojdyla said his bandmate, Michael Zaitz, and Zaitz’s wife were eating at the restaurant.
“Mike looked up at the big front bay window and saw a car plow through the glass. He pushed his wife out of harm’s way and took the hit. He was pinned under the car and got hit by a lot of glass and debris,” Wojdyla said.
Zaitz broke his right tibia, received six stitches in his left hand and had large glass shards in his left leg.
Zaitz has to wait for about a week for surgery until his swelling goes down. He will not be able to put any weight on his right leg for at least the next three months.
“Mike is a union electrician without short-term disability pay. He cannot work and he cannot play in Modern Day Romeos for the time being. We are trying to help the Zaitz family cover their financial worries, so they can help Mike recover from this insanely freak accident,” Wojdyla said.
A GoFundMe account created to benefit Zaitz has raised nearly $20,000 in less than a day.
The adult male driver of the vehicle was not injured, Kotlowski said.
Buffalo Wings and Rings said in a statement that they “appreciate everyone who has reached out regarding the traumatic event that our staff and guests endured last night.”
“Currently, our primary focus is to ensure that those involved are getting the care they need, then we will ensure that the restaurant is repaired and reopened so we can continue to serve the Crystal Lake community. Our hearts are with all parties involved,” the business said.
The cause of the crash remains under investigation by the Crystal Lake Police Department.
Anyone who may have information about the crash is asked to contact the Crystal Lake Police Department at 815-356-3620.
Those who wish to send an anonymous tip to the Crystal Lake Police Department can text the word CLPDTIP along with the tip information to 847411.