Community unites to restore Odessa business wrecked by car crash

Published: Nov. 30, 2018 at 7:22 PM CST
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Two people are dead after a car crashed into an Odessa restaurant early Friday morning.

Police report a black dodge ram sped down University carrying three people before the driver lost control and crashed into the Depot Pizza & Deli.

One person was pronounced dead at the scene, while another died after being taken to a nearby hospital.

While police continue to investigate the crash, the Depot Pizza & Deli is picking up the pieces – and they’re not doing it alone.

The Depot Pizza & Deli has served Odessans for decades.

Now with the entire front of the restaurant torn away, those customers are returning the favor.

“These are volunteers,” Connie Johnson exclaimed looking at the people sweeping up the debris around her. “We didn’t ask them to come, they just came.”

Volunteers have been pouring into the store since early Friday morning.

Customers, former employees, neighboring businesses and friends all working together to restore this business treasured by their community.

“I just felt like I needed to come help them out,” volunteer Eric Easley said. “They’re real good people and I feel like if this happened to me, they’d show up there for me.”

Depot Pizza & Deli owner Connie Johnson said she’s overwhelmed by the love and comradery these people are showing her when she needs it most.

“It’s just a beautiful thing,” Johnson said. “We’re so blessed. We’re blessed we have a successful business because of our customers and we’re blessed that our customers love us enough to help in our time of need.”

Although the crash destroyed so much of her business, Johnson is keeping the shop open—even selling to passing cars.

It’s fitting that the first thing she saw among the wreckage was a wood sign with the phrase: ‘IN CHAOS THERE LIES OPPORTUNITY.’

For Johnson, this couldn’t be more true.

“In all this chaos, there is opportunity for people to show their love and express their love and to help one another and show everybody what Odessa is really about: help one another,” she said.

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