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Cape Coral driver, 24, hit 5 people 55+ outside Matlacha restaurant

An 80 year old woman was killed, another man, 77, suffered serious injuries from the crash; the accused driver was not hurt, state troopers said.
Posted at 9:10 PM, Apr 13, 2024

Updated Sunday, April 14

State troopers now say a 24-year-old Cape Coral man is accused of plowing into a restaurant's outdoor seating area on Matlacha and hitting 5 people and unoccupied motorcycle before crashing into a pickup truck and coming to a stop Saturday night.

Matlacha fatal crash diners April 13
Crime scene tape wraps around the car believed to be connected to a fatal crash on Matlacha the night of April 13. Witnesses claim a driver came over the bridge and hit outside diners. State troopers confirmed one fatality and were working the scene as of 9:00pm April 13, 2024.

Troopers say he suffered no injuries, but an 80-year-old Matlacha woman was killed. 2 men from Matlacha, ages 67 and 77 were also injured, as were a man and a woman from Sanibel, ages 58 and 55. 3 of the surviving victims suffered minor injuries according to troopers; the 77-year-old Matlacha victim's injuries were described as serious.

Fox 4's team of committed Community Correspondents is getting more information as we speak from the family of the 80-year-old victim as well as friends from the community who knew many of the victims.

As of Sunday morning, state troopers had not released the name of the 24-year-old driver, nor had they listed what charges he might face.

In a preliminary report, state troopers described the incident as follows:

"Vehicle 1 (Sedan) was traveling east on Pine Island Road NW, south of Island Avenue.

Vehicle 2 (Motorcycle) was parked and unoccupied at "The BBQ Place" located at 4590 Pine Island Road NW.

Vehicle 3 (Pickup Truck) was traveling west on Pine Island Road NW, north of Island Avenue.

Pedestrian 1, Pedestrian 2, Pedestrian 3, Pedestrian 4 and Pedestrian 5 were all patrons at "The BBQ Place", sitting outside at restaurant tables.

Vehicle 1 traveled off the roadway left, entered the north gravel shoulder, collided with a no parking sign and wooden decorative post. Vehicle 1 continued forward, and entered the outside seating area of "The BBQ Place".

Vehicle 1 collided with Pedestrians 1-5, the building, and the parked Vehicle 2.

Post collision, Vehicle 1 continued forward and collided with several other post, mailboxes and garbage cans, then reentered the roadway and collided with Vehicle 3.

Pedestrian 5 was pronounced deceased on scene. Pedestrians 1-4 sustained injuries and were transported to an area hospital.

The crash remains under investigation, charges pending.

Original reporting Saturday, April 13 ===============

State troopers say at one person was killed on Matlacha Saturday night following a bad crash near one of the island's bridges.

Eyewitnesses told Fox 4's Ella Rhoades that the car came over the bridge and hit people eating outside the That BBQ Place restaurant. This is directly across the street from the Blue Dog Bar & Grill; restaurant staff posted a brief message to Facebook:

A white sedan with a damaged front-end and deployed airbag was also on scene. As of 9:00pm Saturday night there was no word as to the location of the driver or whether anyone was detained or in custody.

Matlacha Car hits diners kills 1 April 13
Onlookers glance out the doorway of That BBQ Place following a fatal crash where witnesses claim a driver came over the bridge and hit outside diners. State troopers confirmed one fatality and were working the scene as of 9:00pm April 13, 2024.

Troopers say as many as 4 others could have been injured and were transported for treatment.

Matlacha/Pine Island Fire Control District reported 3 patients were trauma alerts and taken to the hospital by ambulance. A fourth patient was a trauma alert who was taken to the hospital by helicopter.

The crash scene was in the middle of Pine Island Road, which is the main route through the area, so troopers had to direct a lot of traffic right through their crime scene, which was taped off at length along the road.

This a developing story. Be sure to download the Fox 4 News app to receive alerts about SWFL news that matters to you, right on your phone.