Sunshine Coast District Superintendent Craig Hawkins said the man was transporting two high school students to their formal when he crashed.
The 18-year-old man and 16-year-old girl were not injured but police said the outcome could have been a lot worse.
“The vehicle will be subject to a mechanical inspection and if proven that it was an intentional act, it was an absolute, stupid, reckless, immature and very, very dangerous incident,” Supt Hawkins said.
He said if the concrete barriers were not in place, lives could have been lost.
“Thankfully, those two people who were at the café will recover from those injuries, but if it wasn’t for the bollards that were at the front of that cafe, we would be looking at multiple serious injuries and I suspect even deaths.”
The accident happened on Seaview Terrace at Moffat Beach at 5:00pm Wednesday, with the vehicle ending up on its side and bystanders rushing to help.
A 52-year-old man and a 49-year-old woman who had been dining at the Moffat Beach Brewing Co were taken to the Sunshine Coast University Hospital.
The Queensland Ambulance Service said the couple were in a stable condition.
Video footage shows the vehicle doing a burnout before the accident.
Police said the 44-year-old driver, from nearby Glenview, has been charged with one count of dangerous operation of a vehicle.
He is due to appear in the Caloundra Magistrates Court on December 9.
The bar manager of Moffat Beach Brewing Co, Timothy White, said there were roughly 20 to 30 people seated in the outdoor dining area of the restaurant at the time.
“It was kind of like a bomb went off — everyone was scattered, there was broken glass everywhere and everyone was panicking because of the two people on the ground, but everyone was in disarray — they were everywhere,” he said.
Mr White said he saw the car swerve to miss the traffic that was backed up and crash straight into the front of the restaurant.
“It hit the bollards on the gutter and then flipped onto its side,” he said.
“Two of our patrons got thrown back into the restaurant and suffered minor injuries I do believe, but everyone else was OK after that, which was thankful.
‘Just heard this massive skid’
He said the outdoor dining of the restaurant was full at the time of the accident.
“We had a full patio outside — everyone was enjoying some beers and enjoying the lovely weather,” he said.
“There was a formal down at the beach and there was probably a good couple of hundred kids getting to graduate and all dressed up and looking nice and a whole bunch of nice-looking cars dropping them off.
“There was a lot of traffic backed up Seaview Terrace and I was walking out to do a round at the front of the restaurant and just heard this massive skid.”
He said everyone who was in the car was fine.
“They all obviously stuck around at the scene afterwards — they were all pretty shaken up but there were no visible injuries suffered from those guys,” he said.
White said the business had to close to deal with the situation but hoped to reopen on Thursday morning.
He said the council bollards helped to prevent much worse injuries.
“There are bollards with chains on them that run up the [council] pathway and that and the gutter took the initial impact from the car,” he said.
“Those two things managed to — instead of letting the car come into the restaurant — up-end the car and flip it onto its side.
“That was the biggest saving grace — I think at the speed that it was coming, the car could have very well ended up further into the cafe and into the brewery, which would have been a lot worse for the people in there.”
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