Updated:COVINGTON, Ga. - Police in Covington said a teenager dined and dashed and then ran over a restaurant employee who tried to stop him from fleeing.
Police arrested 17-year-old Melvin Hight. Officers said Hight had two children with him when he took off from a restaurant on Feb. 19 without paying.
Several people who worked in the shopping center described the incident to Channel 2 Action News reporter Erica Byfield as "wild."
"He hit her and she was lying right beside the truck, just flat out," said witness Brittany Simmons. "It's absolutely crazy. How could you be running over people for $7? Is $7 of food worth killing someone or attempting to kill someone?"
Police said five people, a 17-year-old, 16-year-old, 12-year-old and two 4-year-olds stopped at the Mandarin Palace in the Newton Shopping Plaza for lunch. Police said after eating, the group decided not to pay and made a run for it.
Once the patrons were outside, two restaurant employees ran to the parking lot and attempted to block the driver, later identified as Hight. One employee stood in front of the car, the other behind it, officers said.
Simmons said the teen put the car in reverse and smashed into a female employee. Her hip was shattered.
The owner of the restaurant told Byfield the injured employee has since moved to Florida.
Simmons said she doesn't blame the woman for leaving.
"If you got run over, would you come back? I mean, because I wouldn't if I got run over. I could only imagine how traumatizing it is for her," said Simmons.
Police said Hight only had a learner's permit. He has been charged with theft of services, reckless driving and leaving the scene of an accident with injuries.