Jaswant Singh answered the phone about 10:15 p.m. Monday at his northwest Oklahoma City pizza parlor.
Monday nights usually are slow at the Pizza Planet restaurant at NW 16 and May Avenue, Singh said, so it was a little out of the ordinary when a customer called in a large order.
But it’s a good thing they did. Just as Singh and his wife went to the back of the restaurant to take the call and start working on the order, a red Chevrolet cargo van crashed through the front of the store.
The impact left the restaurant looking as if a bomb had exploded. It sent bricks toppling over onto Michael Ray Youngs, 46, who was parked in front of the restaurant and standing next to his car when the van careened off the road. Youngs died later at the hospital, police said.
Singh said they often sit out front of the restaurant on slow nights.
“What if we were sitting outside?” he said Tuesday morning. “We would be dead.”
Police reported the driver of the van was Ashley Bassham, 27. Officers said Bassham was driving south on May Avenue when she dropped her phone. As she attempted to pick the phone up, she drifted out of her lane while traveling through the intersection and struck the curb, continuing into the restaurant.
Bassham had not been arrested Tuesday and was not cited at the scene, police said.
“The investigation is in its early stages, and at the conclusion of that the case will be presented to the (district attorney’s) office, and they will determine what charges, if any, are appropriate,” Oklahoma City police Master Sgt. Gary Knight said.
Youngs was a delivery man at a national pizza chain in Oklahoma City, friend and co-worker Jason Allen said Tuesday.
Allen said Youngs was a big University of Oklahoma football fan and was looking forward to the upcoming season.
“I could always depend on him for anything,” Allen said. “He was a hard worker (and a) good guy.”
Singh said Youngs would stop by the restaurant every so often, and Monday evening he was showing off his new car. He also thought Youngs could have been standing outside the shop at the time of the incident using Pizza Planet’s Wi-Fi.
Nobody else was injured in the incident.
Singh said it’s too early to discuss plans to reopen, and he’s not concerned about his building in light of Monday night’s events.
He said he’s just thankful they walked away and that they want to extend their prayers to Youngs’ family.
Attempts to reach Bassham for comment Tuesday were not successful.
Contributing: Staff Writer Jonathan Sutton