It was about 9:30 a.m. Tuesday and Kaelyn Quave was taking a breakfast order from the man at the high-top table in the corner.
And then it happened, without warning. The bumper and the first two to three feet of the front of a white Jeep came through the wall at BJ’s restaurant, bumped her customer from behind and scared everyone in the busy dining room.
“I was screaming and crying and shaking,” Quave said. “It was loud because it came through the wall. And there was a table nearby with a family — three kids, one of them a baby.”
Thank goodness there were two deputies still in the parking lot, who had just left the restaurant. They were a help, she said.
Quave said she heard the young woman driving hit the gas instead of the breaks. Her customer left the restaurant in an ambulance.
It shook up the whole restaurant, but the community is rallying.
By mid-afternoon, people were pitching in to clear the wreckage of the wooden wall and getting ready to rebuild, said BJ’s owner Amy Byrd.
“We’re still taking orders, to-go orders,” she said. “We have been all day.”
The Jeep came through the wall from the south. It was a wall with no doors or windows, so those in the dining room had no warning.
The popular eating place is at the busy intersection of Mississippi 57 and Jim Ramsey Road. This isn’t the first time the building has been hit by a vehicle in its 80-year history.
“We’re the first red light in Vancleave,” Byrd said, one of two.
Byrd said at 2:30 p.m. Tuesday, she’s getting help with repairs.
“We have the whole wall ripped out,” she said.
“Our boys here love us. They’re helping,” she said. “They’ve got no where else to eat.”