SAN JOSE, Calif. (KRON) – There are concerns about the safety of outdoor dining after a terrifying scene when a man drives into a crowd of people at a restaurant in San Jose. 

The evidence so far points to a tragic accident but some patrons of the Grand Century Mall are calling for some kind of barriers to safeguard people in outdoor dining settings.

Police say there is no evidence that this was anything but a tragic accident.

It turns out the restaurant where this happened did not have a permit to be serving people outdoors in the parking lot. 

Eight people were sent to the hospital Sunday afternoon when a motorist lost control of his vehicle, jumped a curb and plowed into a tent in the parking lot outside the Dynasty Chinese Seafood restaurant at the Grand Century Mall where dozens of people were having lunch.  

The restaurant does not have a permit to serve outdoors, says the director of San Jose’s Economic Development Department Nanci Klein.

“In this particular instance, the business did not register with us or contact us,” Klein said. 

It appears that the 69-year old man behind the wheel of the Toyota Forerunner may have had a medical emergency and accidentally stepped on the gas instead of the brakes, says San Jose police officer Christian Camarillo.

“You know, we’re still looking into whether this gentleman had previous medical conditions, etc. that might have caused some confusion, that’s all still a very fresh investigation. Obviously, that’s going to be one of the factors that are looked at,” Camarillo said.

Some patrons of the mall, where at least one other restaurant offers outdoor dining, say more should be done to keep people safe from passing cars and trucks.

Businesses must register with the city to conduct outdoor dining.  

So far, 500 permits have been approved.

The city has limited influence over permits on private property but there are many instances where the city has required businesses to enhance safety, says Nanci Klein.

“We ask even private entities to register and we do, once they register, work with them to provide say metal barricades,” Klein said. 

For now, the Dynasty restaurant remains closed. The tent is off limits as this investigation continues.

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