A hostess at the Denver landmark Gaetano's Italian restaurant saw the crash coming — well, the second crash.
"It was just a flash out of the corner of her eye, then it was coming through the patio area and through the window," said restaurant manager Katie Nierling. "Everyone ran for cover, but fortunately no one in the restaurant or staff were hurt."
The restaurant had about 16 customers inside but none near the window when the vehicles collided at about 3:30 p.m. in the intersection of West 38th Avenue and Tejon Street. They spun out after impact, leaving a minivan by the front door and a Ford Probe just inside the building by way of a plate-glass window.
One person from the vehicles was taken to a hospital with a serious head injury, and two others were taken to be evaluated, said Denver police spokesman John White.
The cause of the crash was still under investigation Sunday night.
Louise Hazel, who lives in an apartment above Gaetano's, said the collision shook the entire building, which has housed Gaetano's since 1947.
She rushed out and saw restaurant staff helping the injured.
"The bar manager was throwing patio chairs out of the way to get to them to help," she said.
Inspectors found no structural damage to the building other than the shattered window, so the restaurant will reopen Monday, Nierling said.
One of Denver's best-known restaurants, Gaetano's reopened in September after being closed for months after an extensive remodel. A crash last month sent a vehicle into another business a few doors down, but this was the first time for Gaetano's, Nierling said.
Joe Mares, who lives about a block away, walked down to see what happened when he heard the crash. He had been sitting at the window for dinner the night before.
"I've been going there for 46 years," he said. "I'm glad it's OK."
Joey Bunch: 303-954-1174, email@example.com or twitter.com/joeybunch