A runaway pickup truck smashed into a roadside grill and a tow truck in the restaurant parking lot Tuesday night critically injuring the pickup's driver, State Highway Patrol officials said.
A supply room attached to Hollywood Grocery & Grill was demolished in the incident that occurred about 10:50 p.m. at N.C. 43 and Worthington Road. The tow truck operator and his customer also were struck by the pickup and injured.
The 2002 Ford pickup was driven by Dustin Soddy, 17, west on Mills Road across N.C. 43 toward Worthington Road and the high school. Soddy failed to negotiate the left-hand bend in the crossroads, First Sgt. M.A. Williams said.
Instead it drove at 55 mph directly into the grill's parking lot, where Jeffery Waller of Grifton was completing a towing transaction with Joey Adams of Ayden.
The two men were standing next to the wrecker when Soddy's truck hit the wrecker and then crashed into the pantry room of the grill, Williams said.
Waller and Adams were transported to Pitt County Memorial Hospital, where they were treated and released. Soddy was in critical condition on Wednesday, an official there said.
There was no indication that Soddy was driving impaired and no indication of any attempt to slow down or avoid the crash, troopers said.
“He might have fallen asleep at the wheel, but we haven't had an opportunity to find out yet,” Williams said. Soddy was not restrained by a seat belt when the crash occurred, he said.
There was no one in the grill when the wreck occurred. It closes at 2 p.m., an employee said Wednesday. Charges of reckless driving are pending against Soddy.