A 39-year-old woman has died after an elderly driver crashed over a wall and into a table at a Sydney café.
Liz Albornoz was with a group of other mums who had dropped their children at North Epping Public School before heading to the Sizac Cafe at North Epping Shopping Village on Malton Road.
About 10am, a Holden Commodore careered over a wall, through a garden bed and into the table they were sitting at.
Ms Albornoz was pinned to a brick wall and rushed to Royal North Shore Hospital in a critical condition with abdominal injuries.
She later died.
Police said it’s too soon to say what happened, but they believed the 89-year-old driver, Keith Lockrey, was parking when the accident happened.
Detective Inspector Mark Christie said it was an “horrendous and chaotic” scene when emergency crews arrived.
“They were just enjoying a meeting together, having coffee when they were struck by this vehicle,” he said.
“The man was pulling into the parking spot, but other than that it’s too early in the investigation at this point to say exactly what has happened, other than to say the car has gone over that retaining wall and has collided with the patrons at the café.”
The woman’s neighbour, who gathered with locals at the café after the crash, said the mother was, “one of the sweetest people I know.”
“She’s just lovely,” she told 9News.
Friend Monica Galouzis said she had seen the group earlier sitting outside.
“They were sitting at a different table earlier. They must have moved around for the sun,” she said.
“Most mums from North Epping Public come at least once a week, and we catch up after school drop offs.
“It’s really heartbreaking.”
Another nine people suffered injuries including broken legs,
Two women were taken to Royal North Shore Hospital with leg injuries and another two were transported to North Ryde Hospital.
NSW Ambulance Superintendent Steve Vaughan said it was a “highly emotive scene” with people “strewn all over the place”.
“When you get a call like this, you can’t help but think the worst, then all of a sudden your training kicks in and you find yourself thinking about the best way to triage and treat the patients, while managing the scene,” Supt Vaughan said.
The helicopter landed at North Epping Oval, with crews helping to treat patients.
The driver was taken to hospital for mandatory testing.
Some witnesses broke down in shock while giving statements to police.