Creeping through a fast food drive-thru in the wee hours of the morning is a pastime almost all of us have experienced once. It’s seen as a quick and safe way to get the most grub for as few bucks as possible from long-lasting establishments that hold special places in our hearts. Most of us have grown up on McDonald’s dollar menus, KFC’s big box meals, or In-N-Out’s double-double cheeseburgers, so they’ve become staples — maybe even like family — in our lives. We think that when we visit these restaurants, we’re in safe hands and nothing dangerous can happen to us. Silly, silly us.
The news may not always give you the real deal news about people who lose their lives while either working for or visiting a fast food eatery. You never know whom you’re going to meet while waiting patiently for their inexpensive grub. There are plenty of YouTube videos that show customers losing it on fast food employees who don’t give them a discount or on others waiting in line and taking too long to order. What you don’t see are the times when someone commits suicide in the dining area or shoots up a family eating their meal. These 15 stories show you the dark side of your favorite fast food restaurants and how, with each visit, you just may be minutes away from taking your last breath.
15. Drive-Thru Argument Turns Into Deadly Shooting
In another drive-thru encounter gone terribly wrong, 22-year-old Trevor McCraney was shot and killed at a Louis Burgers restaurant in Long Beach, California. Trevor and his girlfriend Erika Flores were waiting in the drive-thru in March of this year when he got into an argument with 25-year-old Joseph Jeremy Bronson. According to reports, Trevor accidentally tapped the back of Joseph’s car with his vehicle. The two parties drove to a nearby alley to assess the damage, but the conversation just turned into a heated quarrel. Joseph then ambushed the couple with a gun. Trevor was killed at the scene. Erika was shot five times but survived. She’d recently returned from the army and was planning on spending the rest of her life with Trevor.
14. The Wendy’s Massacre In New York City
Wendy’s restaurants don the logo of an adorable, freckle-faced little girl, but in May of 2000, one of their establishments was robbed of its innocence. A former employee, 36-year-old John Taylor, and his friend, Craig Godineaux, tried devising the perfect plan to rob the restaurant. Since Taylor once worked at the place and was friends with everyone who worked there, he had the manager assemble the entire staff into the basement under the pretense that they were going to have a meeting. Instead, Taylor and Godineaux tied up the seven workers, gagged them, and then shot them all in the head. Five died and two survived. One of the survivors called 911, and two days later, Taylor and Godineaux were arrested with $2,400 they stole from Wendy’s. Godineaux pleaded guilty and was given life in prison while Taylor was sentenced to death.
13. The Kentucky Fried Chicken Murders
The town of Kilgore, Texas was shaken to the core back in 1983 when five people inside of a Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant were brutally executed on a chilling September evening. It was just before closing time when armed robbers rushed into the building, kidnapped the people inside, patrons and employees, took them to a nearby field, and then shot them in the back of the head. The body of 38-year-old Opie Hughes was found a short distance away from the other bodies. Investigators later learned that she had been raped.
This case was cold for 22 years until 2005, when relatives Darnell Hartsfield and Romeo Pinkerton were tied to the crimes. The cousins would have been arrested if they weren’t already in prison. Hartsfield received an additional five consecutive life sentences for the KFC murders while Pinkerton got five concurrent life sentences. The DNA found on and in Opie didn’t match either man, leaving police to believe there’s a third accomplice.
12. Man Kills Parents Because They Didn’t Get Him Food
If anyone goes to pick up fast food and doesn’t bring your hungry belly back anything, you’d be peeved… but upset enough to kill? Ronald Pritchett already looked a little off with that tattoo in the middle of his face, but he proved that his strange external looks matched his inner crazy when he stabbed his parents to death. As the story goes, Ronald, along with other relatives, was visiting his parents’ house for the holiday season of 2015. His parents, Percival and Renitta Pritchett, returned home with dinner from McDonald’s, but they didn’t get anything for Ronald. The son threw a fit over his parents not bringing him home one of those tasty burgers, causing the couple to lock themselves in their room. Ronald kicked down the door and repeatedly stabbed his mother and father. Percival had multiple stab wounds to the chest and died at the hospital. Renitta was stabbed in the side of the head and survived. She gave the police a detailed account of what happened. Relatives have spoken out about the incident saying that Ronald is severely mentally ill and needs treatment, not jail time.
11. Man Walks Into Jack In The Box And Starts Stabbing People
There’s already enough hustle and bustle going on in the heart of Hollywood, California, but things were turned on their heads when a man walking down the street began randomly swinging at and stabbing people. He first attacked a person riding on a bicycle before he headed toward a nearby coffee shop. He tried to get inside, but patrons held the door shut. He made his way to a Jack in the Box restaurant on the infamous Sunset Blvd and stabbed two others. There was chaos in the street as strangers were trying to assist victims who were bleeding from their wounds. When police arrived, they tried to subdue the unnamed suspect without deadly force, but that was to no avail. He was shot and killed by police at the scene. The three stabbing victims all survived the attack.
10. Woman Stabs Boyfriend Over Not Ordering Enough Food
If you haven’t enjoyed the deliciousness that is confined into one of those little White Castle burgers, then you’re missing out. However, no matter how tasty they are, they aren’t worth murdering someone over. In 2015, 911 dispatchers took a call from 34-year-old Melissa Fostvedt who told them that her boyfriend, 21-year-old Thomas Calvin Donald Jenkins, needed an ambulance because he’d fallen on a knife that had gone into his armpit. When police arrived, Melissa went on to say that Thomas slipped on some water in the kitchen and that that was how he met his unfortunate accident. Her 10-year-old and seven-year-old also gave police the same story. Too bad for Melissa that her four-year-old spilled the beans when he said, “Mommy stabbed Fat Head” and pointed to his armpit.
9. The Serial Killer Who Murdered At Fast Food Restaurants
Some say Paul Dennis Reid was a serial killer, but others saw him as an opportunist who used murder as a means to get by. Reid was described as a drifter who traveled to Nashville, Tennessee with hopes of making it as a big music star. He struggled with odd jobs and was fired from a restaurant where he worked as a dishwasher after losing his cool and chucking a plate at one of his coworkers. Twenty-four hours later, 16-year-old Sarah Jackson and 25-year-old Steve Hampton were shot and killed at a restaurant down the street. A month after that, and just a few miles away, three others were killed during a robbery at a McDonald’s. In the weeks to follow, two young ladies were kidnapped from a Baskin-Robbins, and their bodies were found dumped in a natural area. Their throats were slashed. Reid just might have gotten away with the murders if he hadn’t tried to quench his thirst for blood by attempting to abduct and kill his boss who had fired him. He was given the name “The Fast Food Killer” and was sentenced to death row but died in 2013 of heart failure at 55 years old.
8. Horn Honking In Drive-Thru Leads To Murder
Anyone who’s gone through a drive-thru at a fast food restaurant has honked their horn at least once. No one really gets upset about it because it’s nothing out of the ordinary. Well, it was, until the death of 25-year-old Marine Justin Lampkins made headlines.
Earlier this year, Justin was in the drive-thru of a McDonald’s as the fourth person waiting in line from the window. The first driver got their food and drove off, but the second driver wasn’t paying attention and didn’t move forward. That irritated the third driver, who honked their horn. The driver of the second car, 22-year-old Evan Schaffer, became upset and jumped out of his vehicle. He approached the car behind him and yelled through the driver’s side window, asking if they honked their horn. They lied and told him no. Evan then made his way to Justin’s truck, and in a Facebook post, Justin’s sister Alyssa described what happened next.
“Justin already had his window down and was with his girlfriend and a buddy,” she wrote. “The guy reached in Justin’s truck and grabbed him and punched him. Justin got out to go after the guy and the guy turned around and shot Justin dead in the chest.”
7. The Tragic Murder-Suicide At Wendy’s
Marriages don’t always last, and often, they end in bitter breakups or divorces. Erwin Butler, 36, and Gracie Enriquez, 34, were living in Arlington, Texas, but when their relationship hit a rocky patch, the couple moved out of the area. The pair were estranged, and friends said their small tiffs could turn into explosive arguments. No one could’ve imagined that Erwin’s heartbreak would turn him into a killer.
On a deadly day in 2015, Gracie was shot dead in the parking lot of a Wendy’s restaurant. Erwin killed her and then shot himself nearby. The couple had two daughters who were witnesses to the tragic end of their parents’ lives. Gracie’s loved ones were devastated by the news and hope that people remember her as a loving mother with a cheerful personality and not the victim of a murder-suicide.
6. In-N-Out Employee Found Dead In Parking Lot
The murder of an In-N-Out employee still remains a mystery to this day. Outside of the food chain’s La Mirada location in 2016, Los Angeles police officers found the body of Josefina Alcocer. She was still wearing her uniform. When the news media picked up the story, they reported that Josefina was shot to death in the parking lot, but the details were far more sinister. Investigators confirmed that there were no gunshot wounds on Josefina, but there were various injuries to suggest she’d been beaten to death. Josefina had been employed by In-N-Out since 1996, making her a 20-year veteran of the restaurant.
“The entire In-N-Out family grieves today over this senseless tragedy as we send our thoughts and prayers to the Alcocer family,” Lynsi Snyder, the owner and president of In-N-Out Burger said in the statement. “Josefina had been a part of our In-N-Out family since 1996, and she was one of our original associates at our La Mirada restaurant. We are devastated and will miss her.”
5. Canadian McDonald’s Robbery Turned Into A Bloodbath
Three friends in Nova Scotia, Canada thought they would get an easy payout by robbing a McDonald’s restaurant in Sydney River in 1992. It was supposed to be an in-and-out job that didn’t take too much time, but instead, the evening ended up in bloodshed. The trio consisted of an employee of the restaurant, 18-year-old Derek Wood, 23-year-old Freeman Daniel MacNeil, and 18-year-old Darren Muise. They broke in after climbing through a basement window that Muise had left open earlier in the day. Three other employees were still inside the restaurant shutting things down, and unfortunately, they would become murder victims. The killers used a gun, knives, and the handle of a shovel to kill. They thought they were going to run off with $200,000 but only walked away with $2,017.
4. Man Fires Upon His Own Family Dining At A Del Taco
Del Taco has been around since 1964, offering up affordable Mexican-style dishes for those who don’t have deep pockets. It’s a place where families can load up on lots of food without breaking the bank, but one family was left broken in 2010 when the restaurant was the site of a horrifying shooting.
Alex Trujillo, 33, was dining at a Del Taco with his 29-year-old wife and two children, a six- and five-year-old. Suddenly Jimmy Schlager, the wife’s stepfather, entered the establishment and made his way over to their table. He mumbled a few words before he produced a gun and opened fire on his family. Alex died at the scene while the remainder of his family was rushed to the hospital. Six-year-old Adrian also lost his life.
3. The Cold Case Of A Couple Shot Dead In A Subway Restaurant
This unsolved case has baffled investigators and frustrated family and friends who lost loved ones. For 17 years, there has been a heavy cloud over the murders of two high school sophomores. They were students at Columbine High School when the deadly massacre occurred in 1999, and while they survived that attack, one year later, the teenage sweethearts would be dead.
Nick Kunselman worked at a Subway sandwich shop not far from where he and girlfriend, Stephanie Hart-Grizzell, went to school. While Nick closed up the store, Stephanie liked to linger around until he was finished. On Valentine’s Day of 2000, while the couple were in the middle of their routine, a person or persons entered the Subway and killed the teens. After midnight, one of the other employees was driving by and noticed that the lights were still on in the restaurant and that there was a white, blonde man leaving through the back door. When the coworker entered the shop, they found Nick’s and Stephanie’s bodies behind the counter. There have been no solid leads, and police can’t figure out a motive.
2. Drug-Addicted Woman Runs Over Man During Car-Jacking
Retired General Motors worker Van Haywald was living a simple life. It was just another regular morning in 2015 when the 76-year-old made his way to a Burger King restaurant for breakfast. He made the trip quite often and was a regular customer. This day, however, he met Ruth Podzol. The 38-year-old mother of two had been released from a drug treatment program and walked her way over to Burger King. When Ruth saw Van, she asked if she could use his cell phone. Witnesses who overheard her conversation said he told the person on the other line that she was going to score some heroin and kill herself.
As Van made his way back to his truck, Ruth followed him and tried to take his keys. Ruth won the battle and jumped in the vehicle. As she put it in drive, she hit Van, so he lost his balance. Ruth reversed the truck and hit him once more before driving off. Van later died at the hospital, and Ruth was sentenced to life in prison.
1. One Roommate Stabbed The Other Over Fast Food
They were friends and University of Akron students with promising futures, but their plans were both derailed over a stupid, drunken, impulsive decision. Duncan Unternaher, 23, and Kendal Clifford Scheid, 22, were hanging out and having a few drinks when they got into a fight about fast food. The two young men were said to be “highly intoxicated” during the nonsense fight over what to eat when things escalated rather quickly. Scheid grabbed a knife and stabbed his friend in the chest. Unternaher passed out, which made Scheid panic. He put pressure on his friend’s wound to stop the bleeding. A third roommate who witnessed that attack called the police.
“I need an ambulance, as soon as possible please,” he said during the 911 call. “My roommate stabbed my other roommate… They are in the bathroom. He is keeping pressure on the wound trying to keep him elevated.”