3 kids, 2 adults run over at McDonald’s in Georgia

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COVINGTON, Ga. (AP) – A driver ran over three young children and two women in the parking lot of a McDonald’s restaurant Tuesday, police said. One witness described the man as having a smile on his face.

“All indications are that he intentionally hit them,” Assistant Police Chief Almond Turner said.

The women and children were hospitalized, with a 2-year-old in critical condition.

Witnesses said the car went over a curb as the victims left the restaurant, hit them and the building before backing up and hitting them again.

The driver, Lanny Barnes, 36, was in custody and charges against him were pending.

Barnes’ mother, Mary, told The Associated Press that her son has battled mental illness.

“He’s been suffering with depression for years,” she said, her voice shaking after being contacted by telephone and told by a reporter what happened. “Lord have mercy.”

Ryan Boldman-Snyder, 20, an employee at the McDonald’s, was on a break outside when he heard screaming, and said Barnes was “smiling the whole time.”

Witnesses tried to pull Barnes out of his car. Police officers finally pulled him out of the car from the passenger-side front door.

The victims included a 2-year-old girl in critical condition and two boys, ages 3 and 4, in stable condition, Police Chief Stacey Cotton said.

The women, ages 33 and 36, are sisters and the mothers of the children, authorities said. Both were in stable condition.

McDonald’s area franchise manager Bill Hall said the company was deeply saddened.

“Our prayers are with the victims, the children, and their families,” Hall said.

“We are cooperating fully with the authorities as they investigate.”

Hall said that the restaurant, about 30 miles southeast of Atlanta, would remain closed for the rest of the day and that counseling was being provided for employees.



Associated Press Writer Harry R. Weber contributed to this report from Atlanta.

AP-ES-05-23-06 2001EDT


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