BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Mike Andrzejewski and Kyle Mackiewicz were gathered in the basement at Cantina Loco at 3 o’clock Tuesday for an afternoon meeting with their employees when they heard a crash over their heads.
“It startled everybody, all over the place,” Andrzejewski said. “We knew immediately that it wasn’t just dropping a plate or something like that. We raced upstairs to see what happened.”
“It was like a huge bang and shatter like ice that was actually glass all over the dining room,” added Mackiewicz.
Police say Ryan Hudson, 27, of Amherst, was high on heroin when he ran his Jeep through one of the restaurant’s front windows.
Luckily, the lunch rush was over, so no one inside Cantina Loco was hurt.
“The guy was in his car. He was really, basically unresponsive, and didn’t look really good,” Andrzejewski said.
Hudson was in bad shape, police said, and authorities had to use the opiate reversal drug Narcan to bring him out of his overdose.
The building suffered thousands of dollars in damages, and remained boarded up during Wednesday evening’s dinner hour.
Tuesday’s crash is the latest incident in a rising trend of heroin-related problems on and off the street in greater Buffalo.
Law enforcement’s use of Narcan is becoming an almost daily occurrence. And, for some users, they’ve been on the receiving end more than once.
“The demographics are generally white, middle class, generally 16 to 30-ish,” said criminal defense attorney John Liberti. “The families often have no idea what’s going on.”
Liberti has been a criminal defense attorney for close to three decades. He says he’s seeing more of his clients addicted to heroin and other opiates.
“I just had a guy sentenced yesterday for spinning his car around on Transit. Three o’clock in the afternoon,” he said. “Could’ve killed many people.”
And he’s been seeing it for awhile.
“I would say it’s been increasing exponentially the past half dozen years,” he said. “It’s no surprise to anybody in the criminal justice system. To the judges, to the drug courts. This has been rampant. It just seems to be getting more press because there’s more spectacular things happening.”
Meanwhile, Andrzejewski and Mackiewicz say the driver is insured, and so the two companies are working out the cost of replacing the window and a portion of the wall.
And they also said they haven’t missed a beat, as evidenced by the crowd that showed up Wednesday, despite this random crash.
“Our goal is to be open for the community,” Mackiewicz said. “A lot of people like using our place. It’s cost-effective, it’s easy to walk to, so we didn’t want to close on a bad note. We wanted to be open for the people. We might have a drive thru, but it didn’t stop us.”
Hudson pleaded not guilty to DUI, reckless driving, criminal possession of a controlled substance and other charges.