PICAYUNE, MS (WLOX) - Some Picayune business owners were left picking up the pieces and a driver is in police custody after he caused an accident that demolished the storefront. According to the Picayune Police Department, the driver, Johnny Lilly Junior, is being charged with a DUI and possession of paraphernalia.
What was a strong, reinforced concrete wall ended up in pieces on the lobby floor of Picayune Tire and Service. That wall was built to deflect an accident just like this, according to owner Kelvie Culpepper. When the Culpeppers bought the property to create their own business, the storefront was all glass and steel.
"We pulled it off, blocked it, filled the block with concrete, and bricked over that," said Culpepper.
But it couldn't stop a high-speed pick-up truck from ramming a parked dually right up to the counter. And it was all captured on the business's security cameras.
Culpepper was quick to get repairs started. Glass repairman Walter Bruce was on the scene early to get a look at the damage. "This isn't what I expected and it's a good thing it happened when it happened," said Bruce.
It happened just before 5am, so no one was at work yet. Culpepper said she counts that as a big blessing. "I'm just very thankful that no one was in the store to get hurt, because someone would have gotten killed had they been standing anywhere near this," said Culpepper.
It's easy to see in the security footage how damaging the hit was. Shrapnel was propelled all the way to the back of the store. The driver of the speeding truck was immediately taken to the hospital and treated for minor injuries, then turned back over to police.
As contractors made it to the scene they started evaluating the repairs. Bruce said it wasn't a typical job for him.
"Lot of time, lot of patience, but we can get it fixed, we can get it fixed," he said.
Culpepper said the repairs could take several weeks to complete. Until then, the business is still taking customers, they'll just have to pardon the dust.