MIAMI (CBS4) – Jumbo’s Restaurant in Liberty City was open for business Sunday, despite a tragic crash that killed two men and left the restaurant heavily damaged.
Police said a white pickup truck was traveling northbound on Northwest 7th Avenue Saturday evening when the driver lost control near the intersection of Northwest 75th Street and slammed into another car, which then crashed through the entrance of Jumbo’s.
Two men, Aljo Hamlin and Wilton Harris, were talking outside when the crash happened. They died on scene.
“This is like your breath being snatched away from you. I’m just numb,” said Renee Harris, Wilton Harris’s wife. “I just ask God moment by moment, get me through.”
Harris was surrounded by friends and family Sunday as she mourned the loss of her husband. She recalled the moment she heard the news her husband had been killed.
“I was screaming at the top of my lungs because I had just seen him an hour and a half before here at home,” Harris said.
Wilton Harris was a pastor at the St. Barnabas Wesleyan Methodist church, but he often took his sermons to Jumbo’s Restauarnt. He preached there just two weeks ago on Father’s Day.
Witnesses said Reverend Harris was talking with Aljo Hamlin outside when tragedy struck.
Hamlin’s daughter Marcia Dixon said she was told her father was moments from getting in his car.
“He had his keys in his hands, getting ready to leave, and it just happened,” Dixon said.
With tear stained cheeks, Hamlin’s son Mario and daughter Marcia, wished for just one more chance to tell their father they love him.
“He was just right there,” Dixon said pointing to a spot in front of her. “My sister took a picture before he left. A big teddy bear. That’s him.”
“It’s gone now. Like that,” Mario Hamlin said. “I always thought I’d have another chance, another week, another month, another year. Not no more.”
Eleven customers were at the restaurant at the time. Some narrowly escaped the car’s path.
“I stand here as a miracle,” Ken Knight said. “We were all there together, but somehow God chose to spare our lives.”
Knight said his friend, Demetrius Allen, pushed him out of harm’s way.
Knight wasn’t hurt, but he lost a dear friend in Wilton Harris. Knight said he has a message for the driver.
“It would have been better for him had he killed himself then to do what he has done,” Knight said.
Wilton Harris’s widow said Sunday she can’t hate the person responsible.
“I can’t have animosity,” Renee Harris said. “God is the final judge of the man who did this.”
Police have not yet released the name of the driver.
He was not injured in the crash.
An investigation is underway to determine whether drugs or alcohol were factors in the tragedy.