FRISCO — Some Frisco residents say a prominent business owner smashed into their cars while drunk and then left them with thousands of dollars in damages.
They want something done, because they are left holding the bill.
Bruce Guthmann heard the sound of a car smashing its way through his Frisco neighborhood on New Year's Day. “Went outside in my boxers and T-shirt, and while doing this I heard more cars being hit, and the car continuing to run."
The neighbors took pictures of the five cars that were damaged.
The driver also hit a fire hydrant in front of Ryan and Tamishia Moats' home. The wayward vehicle eventually ended up in their yard.
“The first thing I thought when I saw it was, if the hydrant wasn't there, this guy would easily have come through my window," Tamishia said.
Twelve people watched as a man identified as Ernest Ianace stumbled out of his car.
“He said, 'I can't be here when the police arrive," Guthmann recalled.
Police said Ianace left his car in the Moats' yard and left.
According to a police report, Ianace told investigators he drank four beers before leaving work, but the report states Ianace was so drunk he failed a sobriety test three times.
About an hour after the incident, he was arrested down the street in front of his residence for public intoxication — but not for DWI.
"Because of that, he's only charged with public intoxication and, of course, he can keep his driver's license and can just get insurance again and go on about his life," Moats said.
The man who was allegedly behind the wheel owns several Dallas-area restaurants, including Bonnie Ruth's in Frisco and Savour in North Dallas.
Neighbors said before leaving the scene, Ianace told them that his insurance would take care of it all.
Ianace’s insurance company has offered to settle all the claims with the families. But, the families say his insurance company hasn’t offered enough to cover all the damages. That’s why they plan to continue to fight to get what they believe they are owed.
“I don't want him to just walk away," Cheryl Guthmann said. "I want him to feel it a little bit of it... to know he's made a hardship on some families that are hard-working families."
The neighbors have launched a petition asking people to boycott Ianance's restaurants until something is done.
Seeking comment, News 8 went to the home of Ernest Ianace, visited his restaurants and called him on the phone. He didn't call us back.
In a police report, he said he made a mistake and is sorry for what he did.