Man seriously injured when car plowed into Crystal Lake restaurant: 'Normal to chaotic in seconds'

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Saturday, March 25, 2023
'Very fortunate': Man badly injured when car plows into restaurant
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Michael Zaitz was seriously injured when a car plowed into the Buffalo Wings and Rings in Crystal Lake and is sharing his harrowing ordeal.

CRYSTAL LAKE, Ill. (WLS) -- A man seriously injured when a car plowed into a Crystal Lake restaurant is sharing the harrowing ordeal.

Michael Zaitz of Lake in the Hills in still in disbelief a day later.

"Everything went from normal to chaotic in about two-point-three seconds," he said.

Zaitz, 46, and his wife Danae were being shown to their table at the Buffalo Wings and Rings when a Nissan Altima plowed through the restaurant.

Zaitz was struck and pinned a split second after he pushed his wife out of the way.

"I guess it was just a reflex," Zaitz said. "And all I heard was other people screaming, and there was a car on top of me. And I was just screaming for them to get it off because I knew something was wrong with my legs."

At least three other people were also struck.

"There was other patrons who were hurt, and they were screaming. Other workers were trying to free them up," he recalled. "My wife came over. She was pulling the stuff off of me."

Zaitz suffered a broken right leg and other serious injuries. It could be months before he's able to walk and go to his job as an electrician.

The father of four is also the drummer of the band Modern Day Romeos, and it's unclear when he'll be able to play again. But he's still grateful.

"Very fortunate. Another foot either way, there's a chance my wife and I wouldn't be sitting here," he said.

Crystal Lake police said the Nissan Altima was trying to park in front of the restaurant around 5:30 p.m. when, for unknown reasons, it drove over the sidewalk and into the building.

The driver of the vehicle, an adult male, was not injured, police said.

An investigation into the incident is ongoing.