Cops: Car crashes into Gwinnett restaurant, 1 dead

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Cops: Car crashes into Gwinnett restaurant, 1 dead

One person is dead after a car drove through a restaurant wall in unincorporated Snellville, Gwinnett County police said.

The car drove into M&J Homestyle Cooking at 3050 W. Main St., along Highway 78. A 71-year-old man died at a nearby hospital after he was struck by the silver BMW SUV. The driver, a 68-year-old woman, confused the accelerator for the brake as she approached a parking spot, said Cpl. Deon Washington, a Gwinnett County Police Department spokesman. 

Neither person’s identity has been released by police. It has not yet been determined if the driver will be charged with a crime.

A driver crashed into a Snellville restaurant. One person has died, police say. Ben Brasch/ben.brasch@ajc.com

The man who died was sitting with another man at a table near the window when the car drove into them. His companion, who is still alive, was briefly pinned under the vehicle as restaurant patrons shouted at the driver to back up. The SUV sat in front of the hole it created as police investigated the scene. The driver was transported to the hospital due to an “abundance of caution,” but did not sustain injuries from the crash, Washington said.

The restaurant was nearly full, with about 20 customers inside when the car drove through the window and halfway through the building, Washington said. 

Malcolm Black, a customer at the restaurant, had just picked up a plate at the buffet when he heard the car drive through a large window. He and another customer helped two men who were in the car’s path, he said. 

In a Facebook Live broadcast shortly after the crash, Black showed the vehicle that had driven into the building. The video showed someone laying on the ground outside the car.

Four parking spaces away from where the BMW crashed into the restaurant sat a black Honda car.

The Honda's owner, who asked not to be identified, had been eating chicken and cabbage two hours earlier at a booth a couple spots down from where the SUV crashed into the eatery.

She said she left her car at the restaurant after the meal and went shopping at Stonecrest Mall with a friend, Howard James.
They pulled back up with shopping bags in tow about 5:15 p.m. to the sight of her car behind police tape.

When told what had happened, 85-year-old James said, "I can understand it," admitting that he, too, gets confused sometimes while driving.

The Honda owner got her car back after calling police.

One lane was briefly blocked on the eastbound side of Highway 78 east of Highpoint Road, according to Georgia Department of Transportation cameras. It has since cleared.

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