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One dead after van crashes into pizza parlor Monday night in Oklahoma City

About 10:15 p.m. Monday, the driver of the van dropped her phone while driving south on May Avenue, heading toward NW 16, Oklahoma City police report. Police said when the driver attempted to pick up her phone, she drifted out of her lane while traveling through the intersection and struck the curb.
by Kyle Schwab Modified: August 5, 2014 at 9:27 pm •  Published: August 5, 2014


photo - Damage visible Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014 to the Pizza Planet at NW 16 Street and May Ave after a van crashed into it late Monday night in Oklahoma City. One man is dead after the van crashed into a pizza parlor Monday night in northwest Oklahoma City. Photo by Paul B. Southerland, The Oklahoman
Damage visible Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014 to the Pizza Planet at NW 16 Street and May Ave after a van crashed into it late Monday night in Oklahoma City. One man is dead after the van crashed into a pizza parlor Monday night in northwest Oklahoma City. Photo by Paul B. Southerland, The Oklahoman

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.

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by Kyle Schwab
Reporter
General assignment and breaking news reporter, 2014 UCO journalism graduate with minors in advertising and film studies, lives in Edmond.
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