A 62-year-old Edmonton man is facing numerous impaired driving-related charges after a two-year-old boy was killed when a SUV crashed through a dining patio at a south Edmonton restaurant Sunday night.
Richard Suter is charged with one count each of impaired operation causing death, refusing to give a breath sample and two counts of impaired operation causing bodily harm.
The boy was with his family on the patio of Ric’s Grill, on 142nd Street and 23rd Avenue, when a SUV lurched from a parking stall, hopped the curb while accelerating, smashed through a glass partition and struck the table where the family of four were eating, said Insp. Brian Nowlan.
"Absolutely horrible," he said. "A family comes out to enjoy dinner on a lovely night like this … and who would think that you'd be in peril from traffic?
"It's mind boggling, it really is."
All four family members were taken to hospital — the boy’s mother had minor injuries with glass embedded in her legs, while his father had rib and back injuries and a one-year-old brother escaped with only scratches.
Suter was arrested at the scene.
Shaun Zarney, a manager at the restaurant, rushed outside when he heard the crash and screams.
"Twelve years this place has been here," he said. "Nothing remotely close has ever happened like this. We are still mind-blown on how it was possible for it to happen."
Police now say they believe Suter was having an argument with his wife when he climbed into his parked vehicle and put the vehicle into drive instead of reverse and stepped on the gas.
Patrons actually lifted the SUV as it pinned the toddler.
"I did have a couple of doctors in the restaurant that came out and were performing CPR and did the best job they could to try to revive the boy," said Zarney.
Suter is being held in custody until a court appearance Tuesday morning.