Hit and Run Propels Car into Royal Grounds Cafe

By Susa Lim, Special to the Planet
Friday September 08, 2006

Royal Grounds coffee house, underneath the university-owned Manville Apartments for graduate students, was the scene of a hit-and-run accident on Sunday. 

Carol Chen, 27, and Ryo Kawaoka, 25, were heading home, eastbound on Channing Way, when an unidentified driver of a white sedan heading north on Shattuck Avenue ran a red light and clipped the back of Chen’s 1995 black Nissan Sentra. 

Her vehicle crashed into the left side windows of Royal Grounds at 10:48 p.m., strewing broken glass all over the café and knocking over wooden tables and chairs. 

Cafe workers pulled both Chen, a second-year doctoral student from UCSF, and passenger Kawaoka, a Berkeley resident, out of the wreckage. They were both uninjured. The white car had fled the scene. 

“I heard Ryo say watch out and then the impact,” Chen said. “I had no time to try to watch out. I just slammed on my brakes.” 

According to witnesses, two women sitting about six feet from the site of the impact at Royal Grounds, suffered minor injuries; they received care from paramedics and were released. 

“Nobody was sitting where the car rammed into,” says Kawaoka. “I’m relieved that no one got seriously injured.” 

Police officers declined to comment because of their ongoing investigation into the accident.