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70-year-old woman killed when SUV crashes into Wendy's in Lee County

The incident happened at the Pilot Travel Center just off I-20.

BISHOPVILLE, S.C. — Lee County deputies say one person is dead after a man in his 80s crashed through the front door of a Wendy's restaurant in Bishopville

Lee County Sheriff Daniel Simon said the incident happened around noon Tuesday at the restaurant located at 1340 Sumter Highway. That's just off I-20 at the Pilot Travel Plaza.

According to Lee County Coroner Larry Logan, 70-year-old Janie Kirkland was sitting in the restaurant when the SUV came through the building. Kirkland, who was from Hartsville, was having lunch with her husband at the time.

Kirkland was pinned beneath the vehicle. Logan said her husband had stepped away to get a drink when the crash happened which allowed him to escape injury.

An autopsy will be conducted Wednesday in Newberry. 

The driver of the car is described as a man in his 80s. Investigators say the man was inconsolable after the crash. Sheriff Simon believes the crash was just a terrible accident.

"We sat and talked to him when we got there and he was visibly upset and concerned about what actually happened," Simon explained.

The car left shattered glass, broken tables, ceiling damage, and crushed several pieces of restaurant equipment. The sheriff said the force of the car drove the counter back toward the grill area. 

"He drove right through the front door and hit people at the counter," Simon told News19.  

The driver and passenger of the SUV were treated at the scene and were released. The six others injured were taken to nearby hospitals. 

The Lee County Sheriff's office is wishing those hurt a speedy recovery.

The accident is still being investigated by the Lee County Sheriff's Office and the South Carolina Highway Patrol.

Credit: Lee County Sheriff's Office

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