WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — A Winston-Salem police officer is recovering after losing control of his vehicle and hitting a restaurant early Tuesday morning.
Officer R. M. Rendleman was responding to assist other officers on a call on the 2300 block of Reynolda Road, when he lost control of his police car and struck Pane E Vino Restaurant, located at 122 Reynolda Village.
“When I came and saw the fire trucks all out here I thought it was a drunk driver or something like that,” said Roger Dioli, owner of the restaurant. “The car was out in the middle of the street and I saw the damage and I just knew that he had to be going at a pretty good rate of speed to do what he did to the building.”
Rendleman suffered minor injuries in the crash and was taken to Baptist Hospital for treatment.
There was some structural damage to Pane E Vino Restaurant.
The part of building that was hit was the restaurant’s office and storage space. It also knocked out their phone and Internet lines. However, Dioli says Rendleman was lucky to hit the part of the building he did.
“Well it would have been a lot worse for him [had he hit a few feet to the left],” Dioli said. “Because this is a stone building and I don’t think he would have walked away from it.”
The owners said the restaurant will be closed today and probably for a few days until they know if it’s safe. They said they want to know where the officer was going and how fast he was going at the time of the accident.
“In a way I feel bad for him, because he made a mistake and it’s going to probably affect his career,” Dioli said.
Winston-Salem police say they are still working to determine how fast Rendleman was going at the time of the crash. They would not say what the officers Rendleman was going to assist were responding to. They did say, however, that alcohol was not a factor in the crash.
Building inspectors are still trying to determine the extent of the damage to the restaurant.
Officer Rendleman has been on the Winston-Salem police force for 15 months.