Semi plows into Youngsville restaurant; town loses power
Posted September 2, 2008 8:52 a.m. EDT
Updated September 2, 2008 7:22 p.m. EDT
Youngsville, N.C. — 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.