WILSON, NC (WRAL) – A crash report released Wednesday indicates that the driver who crashed into Hardee’s in Wilson on Sunday had just gotten out of a car wash.
The report shared more details about the accident that killed brothers Christopher Ruffin, 58, and Clay Ruffin, 62.
Police said 78-year-old Wilson’s Jesse Lawrence crashed into an SUV at the restaurant on Forest Hills at about 9:45 a.m. No charges have been announced.
The report describes Lawrence’s SUV leaving a car wash “when it got out of hand.” The report said the SUV hit a curb and drove over the grass to a service road, crossed Forest Hills and crashed into Hardee’s.
The right side of the restaurant completely disappeared after Lawrence’s car drove right through the front windows, injuring two brothers who were inside.
Christopher Ruffin’s death was announced on the scene. Clay Ruffin was taken to the hospital where he later died.
According to the accident report, both men were hit by the SUV, and Clay was thrown off a table out of the window. A 7-year-old boy who was sitting at a table close to the wreckage was injured from the accident.
One employee told WRAL News that the two brothers were sitting and eating breakfast when all this happened.
Gabriella Palacios Alonso was on a drive in Hardee’s when she heard an employee scream.
“I heard the young woman screaming from the car, I looked in the mirror and I saw glass everywhere,” Alonzo said.
Alonzo climbed to the scene and was horrified by what she saw.
“black male [was] trying to get up. Alonzo said. “He was outside on the sidewalk. He was in bad shape.”
A Hardee’s employee, who was working at the time, said there was also a young boy who ended up under the SUV while his father was in the bathroom.
“When he got out of the bathroom and went through all the glass…he found the boy and pulled him out from under the car,” said the employee. “The little boy was screaming and yelling because he was scared and he had a cut on the top of his head.”
The employee said the effect was so strong there was glass at the front desk and bits of building in the hallway.
Lawrence was also taken to the hospital, where he was treated and discharged. The extent of Lawrence’s injuries is unknown at this time.
Boddie-Noell Enterprises, the operator of the Hardy franchise, told WRAL News that she was “shocked and saddened” by the incident.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of the two customers who died as a result of the car crash in the dining area,” the company said. “We are also saddened by the staff of our restaurant who were working during the tragic incident and are taking steps to support them.”
The company said it called in an outside consultant to be available to employees. The restaurant will also remain closed as police investigations continue.
Police said officers are still investigating, but they do not believe the accident was caused by a medical problem or impairment.
It is not clear if Lawrence has been charged, or if any charges will be brought.
The police did not say at this time if there were any other injuries.
The Wilson Police Department encourages anyone with information regarding this case to contact the Wilson Police Department at 252-399-2323 or Crime Stoppers at 252-243-2255.
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