Mar 062006

A driver who ran a red light not only damaged his truck and another vehicle, but left a gaping hole in the side of Ybor City’s landmark Columbia Restaurant. —

It seems that a guy ran a red light, careened off another car, and crashed into the Gift Shop for the Columbia Restaurant on Sunday afternoon.

The driver of the car was taken to Brandon Regional Hospital with minor injuries. No one in the gift shop was injured, but a 2-by-3-foot section of the Columbia’s famous hand-painted tiles was ruined.

Manager George Guito said the tiles have decorated the restaurant’s exterior for more than 40 years. The brightly colored tiles, which depict flowers and vases filled with fruit, were made in Spain, Guito said, and that’s probably where the replacements will come from.

It must not have been too bad, as the Gift Shop had reopened later Sunday afternoon.

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