Customers react to Friday's Outback crash

SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - Police tape continues to surround the Outback Steakhouse on Abercorn Street after Friday's crash.

Herman Crawford and his wife were about to be seated inside the restaurant on Friday when they heard a loud boom.

"We thought somebody dropped a tray, plates, or whatever, but then you realize how loud it is and that it's something more than that," Crawford said.

Police say a van driven by Daniel Lanier crashed into the back of the restaurant causing a fire, gas leak, and part of the ceiling to collapse.

The crash injured seven people, including three employees who had to be taken to the Burn Center in Augusta.

Crawford says he and his wife helped one of those employees.

"He was covered in grease. We got his clothes off, his shirt and pants because grease was just hot on his body and on his face. We tried to settle him down," Crawford said.

Crawford says he wasn't the only one to help the injured.

"These workers are coming out and they're in need and need help. Yeah, that's just the human nature. You jump up and try to help with what you can do," Crawford said.

On Monday, Outback employees were at the restaurant assessing the damage as well as others.

"I was on my way home and I was like 'let me swing by," Debbie Berta said.

Berta says she and her husband usually spend their Friday nights at the Outback but decided to stay home last Friday. She couldn't believe it when she heard the news.

"I was like oh my God, I hope everyone is okay. I just didn't want the place to burn up, because I know there was gas and I was just praying to God," Berta said.

Those with Outback say it'll be a few weeks before they can discuss a reopening date, but for both customers, they say they're praying for those involved.

"Keep everybody in our prayers and make sure everyone is okay, including those at the Burn Center," Berta said.

"I saw a picture on Facebook of the man we treated. There was a picture of him; a nice, young man, good-looking man and hopefully, he will recover as well as the other employees,"

Police say Lanier lost consciousness before hitting the restaurant but have yet to say what caused that.

According to Outback, all team members will receive full pay while the restaurant is closed.

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