The sport utility vehicle, driven by an elderly man, rammed into people outside Farrell's Ice Cream Parlour on Friday night, Orange County Fire Authority Capt. Steve Concialdi said. The restaurant is in Buena Park, about 20 miles southeast of downtown Los Angeles.
Witnesses said the SUV lurched forward, hitting a small fence and running into those sitting and standing between the vehicle and the restaurant.
"It looked like the guy put his foot on the gas pedal instead of the brake," Daniel Long, who was eating with his family inside, told KCAL-TV. "There were three people sitting on that bench — he just went straight into them and crushed them up against the window."
Television news reports showed a silver Suzuki XL7 halfway in a parking space in front of the building, with its front end shoved over the fence onto a walkway.
Orange County coroner's officials on Saturday identified the victim as Marisa Malin. She was sitting on a bench outside the restaurant when she was struck and became pinned beneath the SUV. She died at the hospital.
Five people were hospitalized; a sixth person was treated at the scene for minor injuries, Concialdi said. Malin's 13-year-old granddaughter was among the injured, Concialdi said.
The SUV driver and a female passenger were not hurt, police Cpl. Andy Luong said.
Police questioned the driver, who cooperated and was not immediately cited, Luong said.
"When he got out of the car, he seemed to be a little bewildered," Farrell's CEO Michael Fleming told the Orange County Register on Saturday. "He just had this look about him, like he knew he had done something."
The cause of the crash was under investigation.
Farrell's is a chain of restaurants with decorations designed to recall century-old ice cream parlors. Its website says servers dress in "pin-striped vests, old fashioned ties, and cane hats."