Mike and Lihua Zhang were preparing their China Gourmet restaurant for the day’s customers last Wednesday when they were startled by a tremendous crash and the sound of flying glass.
When the dust had cleared they found a broken front window, smashed table and soda cooler — and a fire hydrant.
That hydrant, Tiverton Police would soon learn, had been struck by a Toyota Highlander, snapped off at the base and flung through the 180 Main Road China Gourmet window.
Lihua Zhang said later it was a frightening experience for both of them, but luckily, “no customers were inside yet.
“It was very loud, glass everywhere.” She said she was just glad that nobody was hurt. Although they do have a few tables in the front of the restaurant near where the hydrant entered, much of their business is for takeout orders.
They managed to clean up the damage, Ms. Zhang said, and open for business later that afternoon.
Police interviewed the driver, Peter Gloddy, 37, of 195 Crandall Road, Tiverton, who told them that he had been driving north on Main Road when he swerved to avoid a car that had pulled suddenly onto Main Road from Judson Street. He then hit the fire hydrant and wound up against a utility pole.
Police said the hydrant was propelled about 60 feet and struck the restaurant about two feet above ground.
Investigating officers Joshua Pelletier and Sgt. Daniel Raymond were told by witnesses that Mr. Gloddy’s car had indeed swerved around the other vehicle.
The officers gave Mr. Gloddy a field sobriety test which, they reported, he failed. But a subsequent breathalyzer test indicated no presence of alcohol in his system, said Lt. Michael Miguel.
He was charged with driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs based on the outcome of the field sobriety test and agreed to go to Newport Hospital for a blood test. If that test reveals no presence of drugs in his system (and results weren’t available as of late Tuesday), the DUI charge could be dismissed, said Tiverton Police Hs arraignment was set for April 24.