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Jeep crashes into Dunkin’ Donuts on Thompson Bridge Road
06202018 JEEP1
Workers prepare to remove a Jeep from the Dunkin' Donuts on Thompson Bridge Road on Tuesday, June 19, 2018, after a three-car crash sent the vehicle into the building's front glass doors. - photo by Nate McCullough

The Jeep that crashed into a Thompson Bridge Road Dunkin’ Donuts on Tuesday ended up there when another driver attempted to avoid a collision with another car.

A Jeep Wrangler Unlimited was pushed into the eatery when it was hit by a Volkswagen Cabrio trying to avoid hitting a Toyota Camry turning left out of Publix, according to Gainesville Police crash reports.

Police were called to the incident at 6:21 p.m. June 19. Several people were inside the eatery at the time, but there were no serious injuries there or in the crash.

One witness said a sturdy brick wall potentially prevented a much worse incident.

“As soon as I heard the impact, I got up, ran, looked to the right and that’s when I saw the vehicle come down and actually hit the brick wall and the glass,” said Alex Rodriguez, who was in the doughnut shop at the time.

Gainesville Police report that a woman driving the Camry was attempting to turn left out of the Publix shopping center onto Thompson Bridge Road. She “advised there was a lot of traffic, which was stopped. A vehicle then told her to proceed to drive across the southbound lane,” according to the police crash report. She proceeded to cross but didn’t see the Cabrio and collided with it, according to the report.

The Cabrio was heading north but crossed into the wrong side of the road in an attempt to avoid the Camry and the Cabrio struck the Jeep after colliding with the Camry.

“Had the Jeep been three inches to the right it would’ve completely came in and probably would’ve easily went inside the kitchen area,” Rodriguez said. “And that would’ve … hit us.”

Several others were inside the Dunkin’ Donuts at the time, including a man who was painting and a pregnant woman with a young child. 

Gainesville Fire Chief Jerome Yarbrough said the car hit the exterior wall and broke the front glass.

One police officer on the scene said drivers’ injuries appeared to be mostly bumps and bruises. No one was transported from the scene, according to the crash report.

“We were very lucky,” Rodriguez said. “Whoever built the brick wall did a damn fine job, because if not, it would have been worse.”

Reporter Nick Watson and Director of Content Shannon Casas contributed to this report.

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