The driver accused of killing two people when he slammed his car into a popular Liberty City restaurant over the weekend is facing DUI manslaughter charges. Rev. Mark Trimmings, associate pastor at nearby St. Matthews Missionary Baptist Church, talked about one of the men who lost his life.
About 11 people were inside of Jumbo's Restaurant, a popular eatery in Liberty City on Saturday night when tragedy struck. Two people died after a car slammed into the building, police said. Lieutenant Ignatius Carroll, of Miami Fire Rescue tells NBC 6 what happened.
Antonio Kenneth Lawrence, 53, is being held on $36,000 bond in the Saturday night crash at Jumbo's Restaurant at 7503 NW 7th Avenue.
Miami Police say 11 people were inside the restaurant when Lawrence's white Ford F-150 truck lost control and slammed into a pickup truck parked in Jumbo's parking lot just after 8 p.m. The second truck then slammed into the entrance of the eatery, killing two men.
One of the men was later identified by friends as 61-year-old Wilton Harris, pastor at St. Barnabas Wesleyan Methodist Church.
"He's been a pillar in the community for awhile," said Rev. Mark Trimmings, associate pastor at nearby St. Matthews Missionary Baptist Church. "It's tragic that he had to lose his life in such a horrific way but God is still able."
Miami Police on Monday identified the second victim as Aljo Hamlin, 63, of Opa-Locka. He and Harris had just finished saying their goodbyes to a Jumbo's waitress who died from cancer and had come from her funeral to the restaurant when the crash occurred.
Demetrius Allen took off running when it happened. He said the entire scene looked like something out of a movie.
"A movie is not people losing their lives, it’s edited and acted out. But that was real tragedy, that was a tragedy,” he said.
During Lawrence's appearance in bond court Monday, prosecutors said he had a blood alcohol level of .253, more than three times the state limit of .08. Prosecutors also said a half-full glass bottle of brandy was found in his vehicle.
He faces two counts of DUI manslaughter, one count of driving under the influence, and five counts of DUI with property damage, according to online Miami-Dade Corrections records.
Prosecutors said Lawrence had been charged with DUI before, in 2007.
Lawrence remained behind bars Monday. It was unknown whether he has an attorney.