This is the second time in Hunters history that a car smashed through the front wall and into the building. The last time was more than a decade ago, and on the other side where the patio seating is now.
It was just before 9:30 p.m. on a snowy Sunday night at Hunters Bar and Grill in Potomac Village. In the pub, no one was sitting at the table closest to the front window, and Fred Berman was sitting with his wife and daughter at a table between there and the bar.
Then there was a huge explosion as a car drove through the front wall, smashing through glass, brick wall and tables.
“I thought I was dead,” said Fred Berman, who owns the restaurant with his brother Murray. “Somebody drove a car through our window and then it went out as fast as it came in.”
The black Audi came fully into the pub at significant speed, knocking over the table where the Bermans were sitting and coming to a stop a few feet from the bar. Berman’s wife and daughter fell to the sides, but Fred Berman was knocked to the ground in front of the car, and remembers noting that the car stopped.
One person who had been sitting at that end of the bar jumped onto the bar as the car stopped, and then heard the engine revving loudly and worried that it would fly further into the building.
Instead the car zoomed backwards out of the building and stopped, covered with glass and leaving chaos inside the restaurant.
The driver came into the building and said, “This is my fault,” and then sat down and cried, said one eye-witness.
Fred Berman said he took a trip to Suburban Hospital and had a CT Scan confirming that he was not injured beyond some bumps and bruises.
“It was like a scene from a Mel Gibson movie,” he said. “It was amazing.”
On Monday morning, March 17, workers erected a new sheetrock wall inside, and painted it red in time for Hunters to open at 4 p.m. for St. Patrick’s Day, a traditional celebration at the restaurant.
The driver was arrested when police arrived, according to several people on the scene.
More than a decade ago another driver plowed through the front wall on the other side of the restaurant.
Fred Berman said he will talk to the landlord about erecting some sort of barriers to block cars from jumping the curb and smashing into the restaurant in the future.