The Hatch Road Jack in the Box restaurant will be closed an extended time following the Wednesday morning crash of a big-rig into the dining room and eastern entrance.
Police said that a person who was having breakfast in the dining room had just got up to leave just moments before the cab of the truck smashed into the building at around 8 a.m., sending glass and building debris through the building.
Investigating officers blamed the crash on the big-rig's driver, Fidel Navarrete, 51, of Riverbank. The owner-operator of the trucking company was westbound on Hatch Road and ran a red light, said Ceres Police Lt. Brent Smith. The front of the cab struck a passenger vehicle that was making a left turn from eastbound Hatch Road onto northbound Mitchell Road. The impact sent the big-rig - which was carrying a load of refried beans - out of control into a palm tree in the Kentucky Fried Chicken lot and into Jack in the Box located west of the intersection.
Half of the dining area had been severely damaged by the cab of the truck. Navarette sustained moderate injuries and was treated at a local hospital.
The crash, which also destroyed Navarette's tractor, is still being investigated.
"Nothing good came from it other than no one else was hurt," said Ceres Police Lt. Brent Smith. "It could have been a lot worse obviously."
The restaurant will be closed indefinitely until repairs are made. The IHOP restaurant miles west on Hatch Road was closed for over a month after a Hummer slammed into it last year.