MILLEDGEVILLE, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – A Milledgeville man is suspected of driving his pickup truck into a liquor store on purpose.
"He walked in and within seconds mayhem," Wally Stubbs, owner of the Elm City Package liquor store, said.
It happened on April 13th at the Elm City Package liquor store off Vinson Highway. The surveillance video shows the last customer of the evening walking in the store to buy cigarettes. Moments later, an F-150 truck crashes through the glass windows, tearing through the counter and back wall, and eventually stopping in the back room.
"It destroyed the front of the store. It destroyed most of the store," Sgt. Thomas Smith with the Milledgeville Police Department said.
The customer was directly hit and severely injured. Stubbs says he suffered from a broken leg, collar bone, and had back damage.
"You just don't expect that to happen, you react, you don't have time to think," Stubbs said.
MPD says 72-year-old Theodore Brantley was behind the wheel. Brantley had been drinking that night. According to the incident report, he told police he had one drink about an hour before the accident, but he blew a 0.094 which is above the legal limit. Brantley told police his gas pedal got stuck, started to accelerate, and caused him to crash into the store. Smith says police aren't buying his story.
"We went back and watched the video tape and based on the level of his impairment, how he acted after the accident when he got out of the car, or his lack of reaction, just his general demeanor," Smith said. "The evidence we took beside the store, the markings on the pavement, it just didn't seem like it was a complete accident."
Smith says they have no clear motive yet, but they believe Brantley knew the victim.
"We have a lot of public information coming to us saying Mr. Brantley and the gentleman that was run over in the store have had some dealings with each other.," he said. "They may have had some dealings with him and Mr. Brantley's girlfriend but we haven't corroborated any of that and that's one of the things we're looking into."
It's an ongoing investigation that still has many questions to be answred.
The victim went to the hospital for a few days, but he's been released and is recovering. Brantley was arrested that night and charged with DUI.
Smith says police are going to inspect his truck to see if there were any mechanical problems.
To be clear, Brantley is considered a person of interest, but he could face additional charges if police determine he crashed his truck into the store on purpose.
As for the liquor store, its doors are back open and Stubbs is rebuilding.