Fatal car crash leaves the Thomasville community shaken

The suspected driver of the vehicle, Khalil Amarion Pugh, was charged with first degree vehicular homicide and other charges.
Published: Mar. 16, 2023 at 8:14 PM EDT
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THOMASVILLE Ga. (WALB) - Witnesses raised safety concerns after a car crashed into the Thomasville Walmart, which caused the death of one inside the store.

Kenneth Ray Kennedy, 68, died in the crash.

Khalil Pugh, 18, was charged with vehicular homicide.

A witness said they were in the store at the time of the crash.

Witnesses said others should be more careful driving in high-traffic areas.

Georgia State Police said Kenneth Ray Kennedy was leaving the Thomasville Walmart just before noon on Wednesday when he was hit and killed by a car that plowed through the front entrance.

Several other customers were hurt in the crash.

Outside of Walmart after the crash.
Outside of Walmart after the crash.(WALB)

Jenny Householder was in the store at the time of the accident. She was on the other side of the store when it happened. She walked down to the grocery side with her husband when they heard the news.

“A Walmart employee said, ‘everybody keeps moving and don’t take-’ I wasn’t taking pictures, but somebody did take a picture,” Jenny Householder, a shopper, said. “‘Don’t do that. Go on. Keep shopping.’ So we went on down to the pharmacy part of the store. And then a few minutes later, they were running around saying, I don’t know if it was the police or the workers were saying, ‘Leave your buggies. And leave the store now. We’re closing up the store.’”

Householder extends her condolences and says stores should consider putting up more safety signs.

“I think maybe they could do something to help people to go slower when they’re coming through. You know, an area where there’s a lot of people and a lot of congestion,” Householder said. “Maybe this would give them the warning to put up more things like that or maybe more speed bumps, more signs.”

Sergeant First Class John Vanlandingham is with the Georgia State Patrol.

He says Pugh was with one other person in the car, however, everything that led up to the crash is still under investigation.

“I’ve never seen one go through the front of the store,” Vanlandingham said. “I’ve heard of them doing that. People lose control of their vehicles, possibly impaired drivers. It’s a multitude of things that can contribute to wrecks like this. I’ve never seen one specifically like this.”

Thomasville police posted a message on social media addressing rumors, saying there were no shootings or police chase.

WCTV reported, Kennedy served for 25 years in the U.S. Army and then worked for the U.S. Postal Service for 17 more.

He’ll be laid to rest on Monday at 1 p.m. at the Tallahassee National Cemetery.