Homeless Man Picking Up Change at Burger King Drive-Thru Hit by Car, Dies—Police

A homeless man died has died at a Burger King drive-thru after being hit by a car driven by the restaurant's manager.

The incident followed an altercation at the fast-food joint in Houston, Texas involving the pair, police confirmed.

But officers stressed it remains unclear whether the two events were connected, and said so far it "does not appear to be an intentional act" as they investigate what happened in the early hours of Wednesday.

Officers said the 26-year-old man was there with his girlfriend picking up change at the window of the restaurant, at 8181 W. Sam Houston South Parkway, when he was struck at 12:20 a.m. The manager said he had not seen the couple there as he drove past in his white sedan.

Police investigate
Police are investigating after a homeless man was hit by a car at a Burger King drive-thru. Pictured: Police in Colleyville, Texas. Getty Images

Police say the couple had previously approached the restaurant window and tried to buy food, but were told they could not be served unless they were in a car. From there, the incident escalated.

Sgt. David Rose, of the Houston Police Department (HPD) Vehicular Crimes Division, told Newsweek: "A homeless couple approached the drive-thru window of a fast-food restaurant at the above address to place an order and an employee refused to serve them. The male then asked for scissors and the employee gave him a knife. The male then got upset and began verbally arguing with the employee. The male then stabbed the drive-thru window plexiglass several times. The male then stopped and he and his girlfriend began collecting change from the drive-thru area.

"A short time later, the employee got into his vehicle, drove around the building and struck the male.

"Houston Fire Department paramedics responded to the scene and transported the victim to Ben Taub General Hospital where he was pronounced deceased. The employee, 20, who was determined not to be intoxicated, remained at the scene, was questioned and released.

"A preliminary investigation indicated the male may have run in front of the vehicle as it passed. It is believed the male, who suffered little to no trauma, may have suffered a medical issue that contributed to his death."

The officer told local channel ABC13: "His wife is very distraught. She witnessed this whole incident. And there's a difference on the statements—a very, very intense difference about what actually transpired, the events leading up to it, and we're trying to get to the bottom of it."

He added: "[The manager] said he was going on break. It is plausible that that is the case, and that he may not have known that they were still in the drive-thru.

"Unfortunately, he contacted [struck] the male in the drive-thru. We have video of the incident. It does not appear to be an intentional act at this time. We are investigating it as a crash. There are a lot of questions that we have, that we're trying to get to the bottom of."

Investigators reportedly confirmed the 26-year-old was dragged for some distance after being hit by the car, but said an autopsy will confirm his exact cause of death.

Speaking to the Houston Chronicle, Sgt. Rose explained the incident was extremely unusual, saying: "This is not like some of the other fatals I've worked where there's a lot of catastrophic damage to the person and to the car. There's not even a scratch on the car that we can find from this incident. There's no blood, the windshield is not shattered — which is typical for auto-pedestrian crashes."

The unidentified driver remained at the scene and cooperated with authorities, police said.

A Harris County District Attorney's Office investigator from the vehicular crimes division was reportedly at the scene, trying to determine whether a crime had taken place and whether the manager should be charged with any offence or whether the death was a tragic accident.

Newsweek has contacted Harris County District Attorney's Office for more information.