Ardmore McAlister's Deli opens two day after truck plows through storefront

ARDMORE, Okla. (KXII) - Construction crews worked long hours on Wednesday and Thursday patching up the damage so McAlister's Deli could open Friday morning.

The Ardmore High School Band played as eager customers lined up down the side walk, past a repaired store front.

Sharon Sprouse said she was the first one in line at 7 a.m. Friday to get a $50 gift card.

McAlister's gave gift cards to the first 50 people in line.

Even though Sprouse was first in line, she was not the first one to arrive.

"There were people here that spent the night," Sprouse said. "They slept in their cars and got here at 11:00 last night."

Sprouse said she was excited for McAlisters to come to Ardmore and surprised when she heard a truck had ran into the building.

"I thought 'Wow'," she said. "I mean, poor people. I was glad nobody got hurt."

Just before 4 a.m. Wednesday, police say 20-year-old Essence Franklin was driving her pickup east on 12th Avenue when she crossed over the center line, drove through the parking lot and right into the restaurant.

The wreck damaged half of McAlister's store front and the walls and ceiling of US cellular next door.

"We immediately went into recovery mode," Stephen Lee said, Vice President of Operations for The Saxton Group. "Our team pulled together, came in and cleaned up the mess."

The Saxton Group owns the Ardmore McAlister's.

Lee said a crew came up from south Texas to make repairs.

'The support has been really awesome, especially considering the event that occurred, unfortunate," Lee said. "The outpouring of support from the community has really been overwhelming."

Lee said McAlisters planned to host a community heroes dinner Thursday night, but, due to repairs, the food was brought to police, firefighters and teachers around Ardmore.

Ardmore Police say Franklin was under the influence of possible drugs

She refused a blood test after she was arrested and had her license revoked.

Police are still investigating the crash.

Officials with The Saxton Group said permanent repairs will be made to the restaurant in the next six weeks.

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