Rocky Mount, VA - Crews were on the scene of Thursday's deadly tractor trailer accident today in Franklin County cleaning up where the truck slammed into a roadside business.
A tractor trailer hit the Blue Ridge Antique Center in Wirtz, killing the driver.
The owner of the Blue Ridge Antique Center, Joel Shepherd, says the very early guess is that the damage will be at least $500,000, which to him, is nothing compared to the loss had things been just a little different.
Shepherd says at least four people were standing a couple of feet away from where the truck came into the building.
"I can't imagine the feelings of folks….four people right at the sales counter. Two employees and two customers right at the sales counter. To have, literally, a tractor trailer slam into the front of the building it just must have been frightening for them," he said.
To Shepherd, it's not the damage that he's thinking about. His thoughts are elsewhere imagining the incredible luck that more weren't hurt or killed.
"In talking to the fire marshal yesterday, there are so many ways that this could have been a lot different outcome," said Shepherd.
And to the one man who didn't make it:
"The real tragedy here is there was a loss of life. The driver of the truck lost his life. We'll probably never know why this accident occurred, but our first thought is to be prayerful for that man and his family," said Shepherd.
Structurally, he says his building is in pretty good shape. The inside is suffering some water and smoke damage, but not much.
Outside, the damage is more apparent as a Hazmat team continues cleaning up. The front entrance and the parking lot will need to be replaced.
The early damage estimate of $500,000 is not enough to keep the business down for long.
"I think we're going to get this opened and up and running again pretty soon," said Shepherd.
State police officials still will not release the name of the North Carolina driver killed in the wreck. They say that extensive medical testing will be needed before the man's positive ID can be confirmed.