After hearing what sounded like an explosion, customers of Sue's Market in Wrightsville rushed outside to find a fully loaded tractor-trailer overturned and crashed into Fakey's crab shack just a couple of doors away, market owner Susan Myers said.
Thursday's noon accident happened in the 200 block of Hellam Street, also known as Route 462 and Lincoln Highway, in Wrightsville, closing the rural highway for nearly six hours. It reopened about 5:50 p.m.
Officials were forced to temporarily close the Route 462 bridge to and from Columbia as well.
'Like a bomb': Sue's Market is about two doors away from the wreckage, according to Myers, who bought the market four years ago but previously worked there for 25 years when it was Andy's Market. Her store remains open, she said.
"There was a big bang -- like a bomb -- and smoke everywhere," Myers told The York Dispatch.
The driver of the rig suffered three gashes to his head, she said.
"And the seat belt really did a number on his chest," Myers said. "A couple of my customers helped him out of the truck."
That's because diesel fuel was spilling from the rig's ruptured tank, and there were popping noises coming from the truck, according to Myers.
The driver was led into Sue's Market until an ambulance could arrive and take him to a hospital, she said.
Fakey's damaged: The 20,000-pound gross-weight tractor-trailer was hauling a massive 70,000-pound concrete bridge deck when it crashed into Fakey's crab shack, Wrightsville Fire Chief Fred Smeltzer Sr. said.
It ruined the business' brand-new facade and shattered new windows, said Renee Fake, who owns Fakey's with her husband.
Scaffolding in front of Fakey's was broken apart like pick-up sticks.
"Luckily, no one was on the scaffolding," Myers said.
Residents who live in apartments on the second floor of Fakey's were evacuated, Fake said.
Fakey's has been closed for remodeling and is set to reopen in May 2013, according to Fake.
"We just got the whole front of the building redone," she said, including all new windows, several of which shattered during the crash.
Steps gone: The steps that lead to the building's second floor -- the ones tenants use -- were destroyed, Fake said.
The 70- or 80-foot-long concrete bridge deck fell onto the sidewalk and road in front of Fakey's.
Smeltzer said crews might be forced to break up the massive concrete slab to remove it.
Also, crews from PPL and Columbia Gas had to be summoned to the scene because live electrical wires were down in the area and two nearby natural-gas meters were crushed during the crash.
"My husband was inside working when it happened," Fake said, as was a second worker who saw the truck tilting in the moments before it crashed.
Sickened: Fake said the damage to Fakey's has left her sickened, despite the fact that it's insured.
"We just put all this work into it," she said. "My nerves are shot."
Traffic was snarled both directions for hours.
-- Staff writer Liz Evans Scolforo can also be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Staff photographer John A. Pavoncello contributed to this report.