When the drive through is deadly
18 people have been killed by cars in restaurants across the South since 2016
Patterson didn’t drive buses with Chris, 58, at Fike High School, or dote on the 62-year-old Clay’s little granddaughter the way that her proud Papa did. As a white man in a short-sleeved salmon button-down shirt, Patterson stood out at L.N. Forbes Original Free Will Baptist Tabernacle, a predominantly Black church in Wilson, North Carolina.
But as he haltingly explained to the assembled mourners, “Sunday morning, I was at Hardee’s when it happened…Everybody in there crying and carrying on. I guess I was probably the last person…”
The Ruffins were having breakfast at Hardee’s on August 14 when a 78-year-old man leaving a nearby car wash lost control of his Lincoln Aviator, smashing into the plate glass window alongside the Ruffins’ table with so much force that glass shards showered the front counter. The scene was horrific, with a seven-year-old boy trapped beneath the SUV and limbs severed by the impact.
“We need help and help bad,” a 911 caller from the restaurant told a dispatcher.
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