Father drove drunk through drive-thru, police say

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MILTON, Ga. - A father is accused of driving the wrong way through a liquor store drive-thru and crashing with his daughter in the car.

Police say it wasn't his first trip to the store that day.

Channel 2’s Mike Petchenik obtained surveillance video from the incident at Top Shelf Liquors in Milton that shows Lonnie Watkins, 43, leaving the store March 4.

The video shows him drive his van out of view and right into a tree. Moments later, video shows Watkins back up with the bumper hanging off the van.

Police "found the driver of the vehicle had attempted to go the wrong way through the drive-thru under the influence of alcohol," said Capt. Charles Barstow with the Milton Police Department.

Making matters worse, Barstow said: Watkins had his 15-year-old stepdaughter in the van with him.


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“We're just really glad nobody got hurt. Obviously, the proper charges were levied against him with the endangerment of the child as well," Barstow told Petchenik.

Police said at the time of the crash, Watkins had already been in the store a couple of times to buy beer.

Store employees told Petchenik they had to cut him off.

"I don't think you should drink and drive," store clerk Heather Ingram said.

She said store employees are trained to spot people who've had one too many.

"If someone comes in and they look like they have been drinking or they've been here one too many times, we tell them we won't sell to them anymore," Ingram said.

Police charged Watkins with DUI and child endangerment.

"It's one thing to enjoy your day and have some spirits, but not at the risk of somebody's life,” Ingram said.

Police said Watkins was also driving with a suspended license. They turned the girl over to a relative.