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Semi plows into Youngsville restaurant; town loses power

Posted September 2, 2008

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— The town of Youngsville was without power and two schools planned to close early after a tractor-trailer plowed into a power pole and a restaurant around 8:30 a.m. Tuesday.

The Dollar General truck crashed into Johnsons Farmers Market Restaurant, 235 Park Ave. Police said they believe the driver fell asleep at the wheel.

The driver, Marc Louis Zabala, 30, will be charged with reckless driving and speeding, police said. He was going 55 mph in a 45 mph zone, officers said.

The restaurant was open at the time at the time of the crash, but police said no customers where there and the staff were in the kitchen, away from the truck's path.

Carol Young, a cashier at the restaurant, said she and several other employees were in the kitchen when the crash happened.

"We heard a boom. (We) heard two booms, actually, and then what sounded like a tornado coming through. Everything was blowing around," she said. "You never think that a transfer truck is going to come through your restaurant."

Young said she watched as emergency crews tended to Zabala.

Zabala had cuts on his face, Young said, but the extent of his injuries was unknown. He was taken to WakeMed for treatment and was listed in good condition Tuesday afternoon.

Before hitting the restaurant, the tractor-trailer took down power lines, leaving about 2,500 businesses and residents without power.

Royal Elementary and Youngsville Elementary schools were among those without power. The schools planned to release students at 11:45 a.m., according to a school spokesperson.

“There was no electricity at all in the classrooms,” said Samantha Baxter, a student at Youngsville Elementary.

Faculty and staff were expected to stay for the remainder of the regular work day.

Progress Energy officials said they expected to have all power restored by 9 p.m.

Johnsons Farmers Market Restaurant employees said they hope the restaurant can be rebuilt.

“You never think that the transfer truck is going to come through your restaurant,” Young said.

54 Comments

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  • unreconstructed1 Sep 8, 2008

    It wasn't my favorite place to eat either , but many of my friends and relatives liked it . I've only been there a few times but wasn't impressed either time . Enough people liked it to have it re-built though .

  • Lesley Sep 2, 2008

    Angora2 - good for you!!!! I guess I am some rich boater, I bet I would have died in that crash with my truck ramming into a side of a building... if you don't get the sarcasm...refrain from posting.

  • PikeMom2bsure Sep 2, 2008

    Johnson's use to be a GREAT place to eat,but once sold to another,it quickly went down hill.It's a Buffet SO just use your imagination on the hype that came in.No Truck Driver's are included in that last sentence.It's just one BIG FISH FRY on Friday Nights now.

  • rebekah816 Sep 2, 2008

    Just because you were born and raised here doesn't make you a true southerner...true southerner's have compassion and manners...and you seem to have neither.

  • anonemoose Sep 2, 2008

    It's not the only restaurant in town, but it was the best. If you don't believe me, ask the truck drivers. :-))

    Seriously, they are a great bunch of people there, and anytime I had to meet somebody in Youngsville, that where we would go.

    So walkin' small says he was running 55 huh? I guess he got that from Topper. Or better yet, maybe one of the real experts from Sirchie came out and found out for them.

  • LaLa-Land Sep 2, 2008

    I noticed the driver was taken to Wake Med and not FRMC.

  • beachboater Sep 2, 2008

    "Wow, I sure am glad it wasn't some rich guy pulling a really big boat."

    "But if it had been, the restaurant could've sued the pants off the guy and been able to rebuild more easily!" angora2

    Please explain???????????????????????

  • DKNC Sep 2, 2008

    Ate there once. The food was cold, and over cooked. never been back. I am born and raised in NC so I know GOOD southern cooking when I eat it. this wasn't it...

    On another note, I drove by after the accident to take a look since I had to pickup my son from daycare due to the power outage, damage looks pretty extensive. As long as no one was seriously hurt, I think it is the best thing that could have happened to that restaurant. Maybe a remodel will help the food...

  • leahscarborough Sep 2, 2008

    "am i the only one who really doesn't care for truck drivers???"

    Think about that comment the next time you buy groceries or gas or drive on a paved road.....these things sure didn't arrive in a Volkswagon!!! It could have very easily been any other driver. It just happened to be a truck. Thank God it wasn't lunch time.

  • hpr641 Sep 2, 2008

    "Semi plows ..." and "Ambulance flips ..." Who's writing these headlines? Was there not a driver in either vehicle? Is it just too hard to write "Semi driver plows ..." or "Ambulance crew flips ..."?

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