Mark Mckinney, the founding pastor of New Life Church in North Carolina, died on Friday, October 8 after being hit by a car while waiting for his food at Johnson’s Drive-In, a local hamburger spot. The incident took place in Silver City, North Carolina. He was 64-years-old.
According to ABC 11, the driver, John Salvatore Graviano, 60, was charged with “misdemeanor death by vehicle, failure to reduce speed to avoid an accident and driving left of center.” Salvatore also injured a 77-year-old woman who was airlifted to a hospital. Two men, ages 39 and 18, were also taken in via ambulance with minor injuries.
Carolyn Routh, the current manager of Johnson’s Drive-In explained what she saw.
“I was coming around the corner and coming into the front when I heard the commotion and looked out and saw customers scrambling — and then saw the car come through the building.”
Routh took over the establishment after her father retired in January. Johnson’s Drive-In was found and owned by her grandfather.
“This is like seeing your home destroyed, so that’s shaken me a little bit, too, but at the end of the day, it’s bricks, it’s mortar, it’s glass; it can all be repaired,” said Routh, who views most of her regular customers as family said. “My focus right now, my primary concerns are on the people that were hurt.”
Mckinney and his wife Dee founded New Life Church, located in Silver City, North Carolina and served at the church for 22 years. Dee recalled hearing the tragic news.
“When a police car pulls up in your driveway, you know right away this is not good news,” she said. “So, they pulled up into the driveway and told me what happened. I started shaking, and crying, and then I started recovering.”
Matthew McKinney, the son of Mark and Dee, remembered the legacy his father had on other people. “My dad never had tunnel vision when he walked into a room, as in he was never so focused on something that he had to do that he wouldn’t stop and give a hug, give a smile, ask people how they were doing.”
Graviano was taken to the Chatham County Detention Center and placed under a $1,000 secured bond.
There was a memorial service at the church on Saturday, October 16, at 1 p.m. to celebrate his life.