WASHINGTON, DC – Pete Gouskos, the Greek owner of The Parthenon Restaurant in Northwest Washington, DC, spoke with The National Herald, expressing his sorrow for the tragic accident that took place outside his restaurant, which cost the lives of two unfortunate women and the injury of six other people.
“I have owned this restaurant for 33 years. I cannot describe my feelings. I know the people here, we are like a family. It is touching how many phone calls we received. People come by and leave flowers,” said Gouskos, who, like his staff, is trying to deal with the shock.
The clock struck 12:17 PM on Friday, March 11, when the frantic course of an SUV driven by an elderly man began. In an incident that unfolded in seconds, the vehicle exited from a gas station onto Connecticut Avenue and ended up crashing into the Parthenon Restaurant’s outdoor seating area. Two women, 76-year-old Jane Bloom and 73-year-old Terese Dudnick Taffer, died tragically, while other guests had to be taken to hospital because they were in the wrong place at the wrong time.
“I was not here when the accident happened. I was at the dentist and came after ten minutes. I saw a scene reminiscent of… Ukraine. A war scene, police, fire department and people,” he said, adding that one of his employees was injured, while other staff members were saved from injury.
“One employee was injured in the leg. Others were miraculously saved. They were taking an order out and fortunately they were facing the street. If they had been facing the building, they would not have been able to escape,” said Gouskos.
So far, the exact circumstances of the fatal accident have not been clarified. A Washington, DC Police spokesman noted that the driver was cooperating with the investigation and authorities said the incident appeared to be an accident. However, there are questions that remain unanswered.
“Opposite us is a gas station. An elderly man got out of there, crossed Connecticut Avenue and found himself right here. He did not suffer anything, but I do not know the circumstances further,” said the Greek businessman.
Despite the serious material damage caused to the outdoor patio area, the Parthenon restaurant reopened, even in the shadow of the tragic accident. The expatriate businessman, an immigrant from Zakynthos, reiterated that the unfortunate aspect is the loss of two lives, not any damage to the outdoor seating area.
“The restaurant inside is functioning normally. I closed on Friday, but we came back immediately because we have obligations to fulfil. The damage is not very great, we are talking about five or six tables and 15 chairs. The great pity is the lives that were lost,” concluded Gouskos.