The driver of a tractor trailer is dead after crashing the cab of his truck into two businesses at a Gwinnett County strip shopping center on Highway 124 in Lawrenceville.
Gwinnett Police believe the man, 66 year old, Donald Samples, of Snellville, may have suffered some sort of a medical emergency before crossing a grassy median and oncoming traffic and eventually crashing into the Wings restaurant and The Hair Parlor salon in the Essex shopping plaza.
No one was inside either business at the time.
Ariele Thompson opened the Hair Parlor in August and luckily had only booked afternoon appointments today. She came to find her shop in ruins after her clients began texting her to see if she was alright.
"Well I was crying but I had to realize it was just material," she says. "Someone really died and we're O.K."
Thompson tells WSB's Sandra Parrish that her young children would normally have been with her at the shop in the morning, but she wanted to spend time at home with her husband since he was off of work today.
The Wings restaurant was slated to open at 11am, just 45 minutes after the crash. But the owner says he had gone to the grocery store before coming in and wasn't there at the time of the accident.
Just two doors down, Global Karate was holding a summer camp with more than 20 children. Owner Cody Davis saw the truck fly by and then heard the crash.
"More than anything I think we were thankful that he didn't come a few doors over," he says.
The truck belongs to Werner Enterprises which has offices in Lithia Springs.