Lunch at Barberitos Thursday was smashing — literally.
At least two customers were transported to a local hospital after a car crashed through the glass store front, shoving a section of booth seating several feet and spewing glass all over the restaurant and patrons.
Jason Davis was sitting with his family in the booth closest to the door when the car came in around 12:45 p.m.
“I heard a big explosion and the booth moved about five feet,” he said.
Davis jumped up to see what had happened — the booths are too tall to see over when sitting in them — and saw the car. He also saw it had hit a countertop positioned along the front windows that had been pushed onto customers standing in line to order.
Davis said he threw the counter off a woman and a man who were underneath it.
Johnson City police are investigating, but the initial account of what happened was the woman driving the car said her brakes weren’t working.
JCPD Officer Tim Hensley identified the driver as Amal Khoury, 41, 1212 Barnsley Place, Kingsport. The two people transported to the hospital were Jenny Crumley, 33, of Kingsport and Stacey Hoss, 33, of Elizabethton. Hensley said the women had superficial injuries from being struck.
Hensley said three other people were treated at the scene for minor cuts from flying glass.
That’s what happened to Heather Perry. She was in line with her teenage daughters, Lauren and Sidney, when they heard the sound of an explosion.
“All this stuff is flying toward us,” said Sidney. Her sister, Lauren, said “I saw the booth moving really fast.”
Heather Perry had a small cut on her foot from the glass and one of the girls fell and cut her knee.
Four off-duty EMS paramedics had just pulled into the parking lot to eat lunch at Barberitos when the accident happened.
Paramedic Mike Skowronski said he and the others stepped right in to help the on-duty responders.
That’s also what Teresa Herbert, a nurse at Mountain States Health Alliance, did. She and her husband, MSHA Spokesman Ed Herbert, had just left another establishment in the same complex and heard the crash.
Being a nurse, Teresa Herbert stepped in to help with on-scene triage.
Barberitos General Manager Brian Trammell said he was helping a customer with a burrito when the car came through the front.
“We were right in the middle of the lunch rush,” Trammell said as he observed the rush of activity of paramedics and police officers.
“I was standing right at the end of the counter ... I heard this boom and then just screams. I saw the whole door crash in,” he said.
Trammell said he hoped the restaurant would be able to resume business later in the day.
Hensley said because the wreck was on private property and the injuries were not serious, Khoury will not be charged with anything.