Johnson’s drive-in: 1 dead, 3 injured after a car accident in the Siler City burger restaurant

SILER CITY, NC (WTVD) – A car crashed into a popular hamburger joint in Siler City on Friday afternoon, killing four people and leaving one dead.

It happened at Johnson’s Drive-In, which is often featured on lists for the best burgers in North Carolina.

Siler city police said they answered at 1:10 p.m. in the restaurant. One person was pronounced dead at the scene and another was flown to the UNC Medical Center in serious condition.

Two other people were taken to Chatham Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, police said.

Shortly before the impact on US 64, the vehicle was traveling west in front of the restaurant.

The police are still investigating what happened and say the driver of the vehicle is fully cooperating.

Johnson’s drive-through owner Carolyn Routh said she was in the back of the restaurant, which has been in business since 1946, when the accident happened.

“I came around the corner and came forward when I heard the commotion and looked out and saw customers crawling,” said Routh. “And then I saw the car drive through the building.”

Routh said the restaurant’s customers are mostly regulars.

“Above all, we have a customer base that is mostly people who are here all the time,” said Routh. “So we know a lot of our customers very well – they’re like family and I still don’t know everyone who was injured in this incident.”

Routh said the restaurant’s dining room was still closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, so diners were there to either take walk-up or online orders.

The crash occurred in the extension of the building built in 1960.

“This is life, I grew up here,” said Routh, who took over the business when her father retired in January. His father was the original owner. “It’s like seeing your house destroyed, that shook me a little too, but at the end of the day it’s brick, mortar, it’s glass; everything can be fixed.

“My focus right now, my main concern is with the people who have been injured,” she added.

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