TALLADEGA -- A Dodge Ram truck plowed into the side of the Arby’s on Battle Street in Talladega on Thursday morning, causing tremendous damage to the building but not injuring any people.
According to Talladega police Capt. Patrick Thornton, the accident was called in at 11:44 a.m.
Tommy Rhoden, 76, of Talladega, was driving a maroon 2009 Dodge Ram four-wheel drive truck. As he was pulling into a parking space, “apparently his foot slipped, and he hit the gas instead of the brake,” Thornton said.
The truck punched a hole through the side of the building and went through the women’s restroom before stopping at the counter. Nearly all of the vehicle was inside the building at the time.
The women’s restroom was not occupied at the time of the accident. “If there had been anyone in there, they would probably have been killed,” Thornton said.
Rhoden was checked out by NorthStar paramedics at the scene but was not taken to the hospital.
An Arby’s employee was transported to the emergency room of Brookwood Baptist Health Center/Citizens Baptist Medical Center for treatment of symptoms similar to a panic attack. Thornton said she was not hit by the vehicle or by any of the debris and did not appear to have sustained any direct physical injury from the accident.
Talladega fire Capt. John Tyson said firefighters and the city building inspector also responded to the accident.
“The building was structurally compromised,” he said. “We made sure all the utilities had been shut off, and the contractors were on the scene by Thursday afternoon. It was very fortunate that no one was injured.”
Firefighters remained on the scene well into Thursday afternoon.
Thornton said the initial damage estimates to the building were in the $200,000 range.
It was not immediately clear when the restaurant might reopen.