‘It felt like a bomb went off’: Car crash into side of Norfolk café halts orders, for now

Car crashes into Naci’s Corner Café
Naci’s Corner Café car crash
Car crashes into Naci’s Corner Café
Posted at 10:46 AM, Feb 21, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-22 11:14:01-05

NORFOLK, Va. – The owner of a Turkish cuisine restaurant on the corner of Granby and 19th streets is pressing forward after another setback that was all caught on camera.

Naci’s Corner Café is closed for the foreseeable future after Norfolk Police say a 21-year-old driver crashed into the building Friday afternoon. The fire marshal has condemned the building until it can be structurally repaired.

The crash happened just before the lunch rush around noon. The owner, Jale Evsen says she’s still in shock. She said she was standing behind the counter when the car came crashing into her restaurant.

“It felt like a bomb went off; I didn’t know what was happening,” Evsen told News 3 over the phone. “People are usually lined up against that wall but thankfully it was slow at the moment, and no one was along the wall when it happened.”

Surveillance video from Naci’s Corner Café captured the moment when the car suddenly slams into the side of the building.

The video then shows the driver, later identified as Nathaniel Beane, getting out of the car, seemingly running away. Moments later, Evsen can be seen running outside trying to stop him.

“I yell out to him, ‘Where are you going? You can’t run away,” said Evsen. “He stopped for a minute. He turned around and looked at me.”

That’s when police moved in seconds later arresting Beane.

No one was hurt outside or inside the café. She said if the crash happened about an hour later, it would have been a different story.

“I’m so grateful for nobody getting hurt with all these bricks flying,” Evsen said. “There was a very loud noise. The building was shaking.”

Right before the crash, police said the driver ran into another car. That driver was taken to the hospital with minor injuries.

Evsen said the 21-year-old hit the stop sign in front of her café before hitting her car and then her restaurant.

Evsen is now left with a 12-foot gaping hole that’s been boarded up.

“Something like this is a huge setback,” said Evsen.

The Turkish restaurant opened during the pandemic in June 2020. Evsen said business was just taking off when the harrowing incident happened.

“We had just reached the point, especially in November and December last year, we were doing so well, so well,” she said.

Evsen is hoping to reopen by the end of next week starting with to-go orders.

This week is already starting out on a high, much like the start of last week. Evsen got married on Valentine’s Day, and now support from the community is helping her forge ahead.

“It’s just amazing how I can feel the love and how many people have reached out,” she said.

As a result of the investigation, police said 21-year-old Nathaniel Beane, 21 was charged with auto theft, two counts of assault on emergency personnel, assault against a health care provider and disorderly conduct in a hospital. Beane is being held in Norfolk City Jail without bond.