A restaurant owner in The Grove was an innocent victim when suspects fleeing from police smashed into his car on New Year’s Eve.
William Pauley, 36, recently opened Confluence Kombucha on Manchester Road. On Saturday night he left the café around 10 p.m. He got in his car but was then t-boned.
“He was at the wrong place at the wrong time,” said Julie Borrson, the victim’s mother.
Police said they were chasing the car filled with four men after one of them fired shots at undercover detectives in the Dutchtown neighborhood. No officers were injured, but it set off a police chase through South City.
The chase ended at Manchester and Taylor when the suspects smashed into Pauley’s car, which then hit another parked car.
Pauley is in the ICU and is recovering with several broken bones.
“He’s doing better, he’s in a lot of pain,” said Borrson.
Erica Cunningham, a cook at Confluence Kombucha, was with Pauley right before the crash. They left the café together and he was supposed to meet up with her later.
“I had to pull over three more times because there were so many cops in The Grove,” said Cunningham. “What if we had left the restaurant five minutes later? He wouldn’t have been in that situation.”
Cunningham said she is overwhelmed by the support coming from the community. Pauley opened Confluence Kombucha in 2016, they were just getting the new business off the ground.
“The business just started and I think the love and community support will be a pillar, a corner stone, for both his healing and the business,” said Cunningham.
The cafe will not open as usually scheduled on Wednesday. They will re-open with a limited menu and modified hours on Thursday.
Police charged Renard, Jones, 19, with resisting arrest. Three additional suspects, two 18 year olds and a 19-year-old were also involved. Police say warrants for those three are pending under further investigation.
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