Driver charged in death of 2 brothers in Wilson Hardee’s crash

The charges against Jesse Lawrence, 78, of Wilson were made on Tuesday by the Strategic Traffic...
The charges against Jesse Lawrence, 78, of Wilson were made on Tuesday by the Strategic Traffic Enforcement Patrol unit of the Wilson Police Department.(Wilson Police Department / WRAL)
Published: Sep. 29, 2022 at 5:32 AM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

WILSON, N.C. (WNCN) - The man suspected of being behind the wheel of an SUV that plowed into a Wilson Hardee’s in August, killing two customers has been charged with reckless driving and two counts of misdemeanor death by a motor vehicle, police said on Wednesday.

The charges against Jesse Lawrence, 78, of Wilson were made on Tuesday by the Strategic Traffic Enforcement Patrol unit of the Wilson Police Department.

Lawrence turned himself in later in the day Tuesday, police said. He was given a $20,000 secured bond.

At about 9:47 a.m. on Aug. 14, police said Lawrence crashed his silver SUV into the Hardee’s on Forest Hills Road near Walmart.

Christopher Ruffin, 58, of Wilson died at the scene. Another customer, Clay Ruffin, 62, was also hit by the SUV, police said.

Clay Ruffin, who was Christopher Ruffin’s brother, was taken to ECU Health Medical Center but later died, police said.

Lawrence was taken to the Wilson Medical Center where he was treated and released, police said.

The Wilson Police Department is encouraging anyone with information regarding this case to contact the Wilson Police Department at 252-399-2323 or Crime Stoppers at 252-243-2255.