CLIFTON PARK — State police said an elderly woman accidentally drove through the Friendly’s in Clifton Park after dining at the restaurant with a friend late Thursday morning.
Investigators said Ann Frascinella, 75, of Clifton Park, drove over the curb, into the shrubs and crashed through the glass and concrete wall of the eatery. Frascinella and her passenger, Elizabeth Denue, 83, of Clifton Park, were taken to St. Mary’s Hospital in Troy as a precaution but didn’t appear badly injured. A Friendly’s employee, Alan Hughes, 20, of Clifton Park, was treated for minor injuries, according to police.
Restaurant manager Dan Hamilton said the staff was busy serving a large lunchtime crowd when he heard the car smash into the restuarant at about 11:45 a.m. Fortunately, he said no employees or customers were in the entrance area when the car crashed through the wall.
The Saratoga County Sheriff’s Department is investigating the accident.
Broken wires shut down electrical service to the front of the building. Representatives from Friendly’s headquarters in Wilbraham, Mass., were on their way to the scene, Hamilton said.
The eatery has had its share of unexpected disasters befall it in the past. In April 2000, a rooftop heating and air-conditioning unit caught fire, filling the restaurant with smoke. Firefighters were able to contain the flames, but the restaurant needed to close early for the evening.
Then, less than a month later, another fire struck the restaurant. This time, the blaze started by burning grease leveled the restaurant, forcing it to shut down for nearly three months. The blaze destroyed everything except a portion of the foundation and the gas pipes.