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Brothers killed when driver, 78, crashes SUV into N.C. restaurant, police say

A Lincoln Aviator crashed into a Hardee's in Wilson, striking customers Christopher Ruffin, 58, and Clay Ruffin, 62, police said.
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/ Source: The Associated Press

WILSON, N.C. — A sport utility vehicle crashed into a North Carolina fast-food restaurant on Sunday, killing two sibling customers, police said.

The single-vehicle crash occurred at about 9:45 a.m. at a Hardee’s restaurant in the city of Wilson, around 40 miles east of the state capital, Raleigh.

The Lincoln Aviator struck brothers Christopher Ruffin, 58, and Clay Ruffin, 62, both from Wilson, according to a police news release. Christopher Ruffin was pronounced dead at the scene, while his brother died at ECU Health Medical Center in Greenville.

Firefighters inspect an SUV that crashed into a Hardee’s restaurant Sunday in Wilson, N.C.
Firefighters inspect an SUV that crashed into a Hardee’s restaurant Sunday in Wilson, N.C. Drew C. Wilson / AP

Photos from the scene showed the silver SUV appeared to have gone through the front windows, coming to a stop inside the dining area atop broken glass and window frames.

Another customer was examined by emergency medical personnel but didn’t go to the hospital, police Sgt. Eric McInerny said.

Police identified the driver as Jesse Lawrence, 78, of Wilson, who was treated at Wilson Medical Center and released. The investigation was still ongoing, but police said they didn’t believe the crash to be medical- or impairment-related.

No charges had been announced late Sunday afternoon.