Colleagues 'Shocked And Saddened' By Tragic Death Of Mother Killed In Cafe Crash
A mother-of-two has died, and nine others were injured, after a car driven by an elderly man ploughed into a local cafe in suburban Sydney.
The 40-year-old woman was enjoying a coffee with a group of school mums outside Cafe Si Zac in North Epping, in Sydney's north-west, when the car crashed into them on Friday morning.
She has been named as Liz Albornoz, a mother of two daughters who works in events management.
Albornoz was taken to hospital in a critical condition and died a short time later.
Police confirmed the victim’s next of kin had been notified.
Albornoz worked in the not-for-profit sector with Social Ventures Australia, an organisation that aims to help change the trajectory of people experiencing disadvantage in Australia.
Her colleagues told 10 daily of their "sadness and shock" at her death.
"Liz was a wonderful and valued colleague who shared our commitment to improve the lives of the most vulnerable in Australia," said CEO Suzie Riddell.
"Our thoughts are with her husband, her daughters and her family and loved ones at this time.
"We are also thinking about the many others injured and impacted by this tragedy."
Multiple ambulance crews and a medical helicopter arrived at the scene of the fatal crash on Malton Road just after 10 am.
Detective Inspector Mark Christie said the Holden Commodore appears to have careered over a wall and collided with people who were seated at the cafe.
"It appears he [the driver] has pulled into the parking spot," Christie said.
"It is too early to say exactly what has happened other than to say the car has gone over that [retaining] wall and has collided with patrons at the cafe," he told reporters on Friday.
Albornoz was taken to Royal North Shore Hospital in a critical condition with abdominal injuries where she later died, NSW Police said.
Nine others sustained various other minor injuries, and four of them were transported to hospital in a stable condition.
The 89-year-old driver was taken to Ryde Hospital for mandatory testing. Police are yet to speak with him, Christie said on Friday afternoon.
NSW Ambulance Superintendent Steve Vaughan described the scene as "absolutely frantic".
“The scene was absolutely frantic for emergency services -- there was carnage everywhere when we arrived," he said.
“This was a huge multi agency response where everyone worked closely as a team to help those who had been affected by the incident.”
The cafe is located in a small shopping centre at the intersection of Malton Road and Roma Street.
Christie said the incident was a "very tragic set of circumstances" for what is a "close-knit" community.
"This is just a small, local cafe, a local shopping centre. I imagine a lot of people would know each other," he said.
"They were just enjoying a meal together, having coffee when they were struck by this vehicle," he said.
The Crash Investigation Unit is at the scene, and investigations continue.
Christie said it is too early to determine the cause of the crash, or whether it is being treated as an accident.
He urged anyone who witnessed the fatal crash to come forward.
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