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Customer recalls car smashing through Puyallup drive-in, scalding workers with grease

Three people, including the owner of Don’s Drive-In, were hurt when the car toppled a fryer full of hot oil on Tuesday afternoon.

“The workers that are back there are pulling things out and they’re screaming too because they’re back there in the midst of this,” said Emilia Ganchorre, who was inside when it all happened.

Ganchorre spoke exclusively with KIRO 7′s Samantha Lomibao about her experience.

“I was in the middle of eating lunch and then I heard a very, very muted noise that became so unbearably loud from the north side.”

Fortunately, Ganchorre was sitting on the other side of the restaurant at the time, but she saw it all.

“Bottles in the machine were jacked one way. A giant hole in the wall, there was glass everywhere,” she described. “60% to 70% of the entire viewable area is just completely, destroyed.”

That’s when she and another customer sprang into action. Ganchorre grabbed work gloves from her car to help clean out the mess.

“I and one other person are pulling rubble out of the way and we soon see that someone is suffering from second and third-degree burns very, very bad,” she described.

Police say the car brought down a large fryer inside, dousing the cook in hot oil. It resulted in life-threatening injuries.

The owner of Don’s Drive-In and another employee also had grease burns.

“I’m just in here trying to get as much of the debris out of the way, trying to get as much as I can done,” Ganchorre said.

The driver, 64-year-old Harold Hurley of Bonney Lake, faces 3 charges of DUI vehicular assault.

Ganchorre says the impact goes beyond broken glass and a hole in the wall.

“There are so many things other than property damage here, like just the sheer amount of trauma that people witnessed and felt through this.”

It’s just another reason why Puyallup police say driving under the influence puts others at risk too.

“We take DUI enforcement seriously in our state and the reason we do is because injured like this can occur. And so we are out there, especially this time of year, constantly proactively seeking out DUI drivers to prevent this type of injury,” said Captain Ryan Portmann with the Puyallup Police Department.

The court documents reveal that Hurley admitted to having marijuana earlier in the day.

Police say Hurley had a meth pipe and marijuana on him when he was arrested.

Hurley was booked into Pierce County Jail and is being held on $35,000 bail.