MORRISVILLE, N.C. (WNCN) — The senior pastor of a Morrisville church was killed last week when a driver ran off the road and plowed into a group of people outside a Siler City burger joint, according to a post on the church’s Facebook page.
“It is with great sadness that we share this news on behalf of the McKinney family and New Life Church, that our Senior Pastor, Pastor Mark, passed away [Friday] in a tragic accident that happened in Siler City,” New Life Church posted on Facebook.
Mark McKinney, 64, was one of four people run down in the parking lot of Johnson’s Drive-In around 1:10 p.m. on Oct. 9.
According to Siler City police, McKinney died at the scene.
A 77-year-old woman was airlifted to UNC Hospital in Chapel Hill in serious condition. The two others who were injured, a 39-year-old woman and an 18-year-old man, were not seriously hurt.
The church said McKinney’s life “impacted everyone around him” and called him an “amazing husband…father…and grandpa.”
“The life that he lived impacted everyone around him. He was an amazing husband to Pastor Dee, father to Pastor Matt and Cara, and Grandpa to four grandchildren. He was a great friend, teacher, Pastor, and mentor to hundreds of people,” New Life wrote.
John Salvatore Graviano, 60, of Siler City, was the driver of the vehicle that hit the customers and then slammed into the restaurant located on U.S. 64 near E. Raleigh Street, police announced over the weekend.
According to authorities, Graviano was driving west on E. Eleventh Street (U.S. 64) but instead crossed the center line and collided with a vehicle that was making a left turn onto E. Raleigh Street from E. Eleventh Street, police said.
After colliding with that vehicle, the driver continued into oncoming traffic lanes before exiting the road on the left side into the grass on the east side of Johnson’s parking lot, the news release said.
The driver then entered the parking lot and collided with the pedestrians who were gathered waiting for food, police said.
The SUV then hit the building. Police did not say what triggered Garviano to cross the centerline.
Graviano is charged with misdemeanor death by vehicle, failure to reduce speed to avoid an accident, and driving left of center, police said. He was released on a $1,000 bond with a court date set for Dec. 22 in Chatham County District Court. He was not injured in the crash.
A celebration of life for McKinney will be held on Saturday at 1 p.m. at New Life Church, located at 10260 Chapel Hill Road in Morrisville.