Vehicle slams into Bogalusa eatery Zesto

Published 8:23 am Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Work crews cleaned up Tuesday after a Mercury Villager minivan plowed through the front window at Zesto Drive-In on Richmond Street.

Bogalusa’s Geneva Verdin, 67, was traveling south on Richmond Street when she turned into Zesto. She told Bogalusa Police Department officers she accidently hit the gas pedal instead of the brake. Willie Nunez, 69, was a passenger in the minivan.

Bogalusa Police Chief Joe Culpepper said no citations were issued as a result of the accident.

The Bogalusa Fire Department also responded to the accident.

Kevin’s Wrecker Service towed the minivan from the scene.

Six employees were inside the business when the accident occurred at approximately 12:45 p.m. Neither Verdin nor Nunez nor any of the six employees inside the business were apparently seriously injured. One employee, Vicky Baughman, however, suffered an ankle injury when she tried to run from the impending accident. She was taken to Our Lady of the Angels Hospital.

Zesto co-owners Marian Pierce and Mary Lee McKenzie have owned the business for 49 years. McKenzie said Verdin is regular customer.

“The damage was very serious, but we’re blessed no more people got hurt,” the visibly shaken McKenzie said. “If more people had been standing at the front window, they would have been killed. We’re blessed that we weren’t busy at the time.”

McKenzie said she had no estimate for when business can resume or the amount of damage the accident caused. She said this isn’t the first time the business was involved in a traffic accident.

“Somebody came through the kitchen window on Mardi Gras Day several years ago,” McKenzie said.

Employee Pat Jordan was working in the front at the time of the accident.

“I saw it coming and ran to the back when I saw it was not going to be able to stop.” Jordan said. “It scared me. Vicky was behind me and something hit her.”

Along with Jordan and Baugman, Brenda Bardwell was working in the front of the establishment. Shari Strahan, McKenzie and Pierce were in the back at the time of the accident.