Simeon’s released the following statement Saturday afternoon:
“Friends, we have suffered terribly in the last 24 hours. A run-away tractor trailer slammed into Simeons on the Commons a little after 4:00 PM on June 20, 2014. We’ve had several injuries along with the loss of our dear friend and co-worker Amanda. Our hearts are very burdened by this and our prayers go out to her family and friends. This is a tragedy beyond words.
We will post more later about where Simeon’s goes from here, but for now we just need to be mindful of the loss and injuries of our friends and their families.
Ithaca, N.Y. — Rick Smith and his wife were standing across from what was left of Simeon’s Saturday morning as the restaurant’s owner and others tried to salvage what they could.
Smith said he and his wife knew the victim of Friday’s crash — Simeon’s bartender Amanda Bush, 27 — well.
“She has a baby. She was very sweet, very down to earth,” Smith said.
What remains of Simeon’s on the Commons stopped passersby in the area throughout Saturday.
Some near the site of the restaurant placed bouquets in a corner of the chain-link fence perimeter to remember Bush, who was killed on impact when a tractor-trailer smashed into the popular restaurant Friday afternoon.
A few on the scene knew Bush as a mother of a 14-month-old baby and as a kind woman.
Behind the flowers was a small pink sign that said “RIP Amanda (+one) Precious lives taken.”
(Witnesses said after the crash that a pregnant woman had been injured. Mayor Svante Myrick said at a press conference Saturday that officials could not confirm if Bush was pregnant, saying it was personal information.)
Bush was working as a bartender at Simeon’s when the truck barreled down State Street and into the restaurant around 4 p.m. Bush was the only fatality in the accident. Several others were injured in the crash.
Smith said his wife was working at Simeon’s when the accident occurred but escaped uninjured.
“She was stuck in the entry, which was right behind that door. All the debris blocked her in, so she climbed over that and was pulled out by Rich, the owner,” he said.
At the scene Saturday morning, passersby pushing strollers, bikers riding along, and others stopped to look at the building. Crews worked throughout the night to secure the four-story structure and remove the tractor-trailer.
Chunks of wood, metal and brick hang from one side of the restaurant, exposing the innards of apartments on the floors above Simeon’s.
By the small memorial for Bush, some people shared their experiences from the night or what they knew of Bush.
Hattie Lawton, of Ithaca, said her granddaughter knew Bush well, and that she also knew Bush as a nice person.
Lawton said she was at the scene of the crash Friday and witnessed Bush’s body get removed from the wreckage.
“I saw when they took her out — so sad,” Lawton said.