MANSFIELD – The damage to the Burger King on Ashland Road was a real whopper after a vehicle drove through the restaurant on Thursday night, but no life-threatening injuries were reported.
According to to the Mansfield Post of the Highway Patrol, the crash occurred when Dewitt Daniels, 76, of Mansfield, southbound on Ashland Road in a 2018 Kia Sorento, went off the left side of the road and over an embankment just after 9 p.m.
The vehicle continued through the parking lot of Burger King at 1022 Ashland Road, crashing into the building. The vehicle came to rest inside the dining area.
Daniels, who was wearing a seat belt, was transported to OhioHealth Mansfield Hospital, where he was treated for his injuries. No patrons or Burger King Employees were injured.
The Burger King building sustained substantial damage to the north wall of the building and within the dining area. Impaired driving is a suspected factor in the crash, but remains under investigation.
"(Dewitt) was coherent enough to be able to stand and communicate, but he didn't realize he was just in an accident," said Brittany Hill, a Burger King crew member who helped remove the driver from the vehicle. "He had his seatbelt on and wraparound airbags. He kept asking if he was on Ashland Road."
Just before the accident, Erica Boliantz and her brother were driving southbound on Ashland Road when the driver in the KIA pulled up behind them.
"We were slowing down because they were putting cones out, and he must have gotten upset that we were slowing down because he got right on our tail," Boliantz said. "My brother was driving, he said at one point he lost (the driver's) headlights because he was driving that close."
According to Boliantz, the KIA crossed over the northbound lane of Ashland Road and drove straight into the Burger King.
"He started fishtailing, and I heard a noise and looked back over (my brother's) shoulder," she said. "I saw him hit the guardrail, fly through the air and go straight into the building. Within 10 seconds I was on the phone with 9-1-1."
Inside the restaurant, 19-year-old Devon Mazak was preparing to hand a bag of food to a customer.
"I heard glass smashing and I turned around and the entire dining room was falling apart as the car was coming right through it," Mazak said. "I fell over but then I got up and ran, my coworkers were all screaming. I didn't have enough time to feel anything, I just ran."
According to Hill, her 13-year-old son had just been sitting in the spot where the car came through the Burger King dining room.
"I'm still in shock...numb and shaky," Hill said.
Madison Township Fire and EMS responded to the scene, along with the Ohio State Highway Patrol. Shelly Smith & Sons towing assisted in extracting the vehicle from the Burger King.