Friend remembers heartbreaking last conversation with restaurant owner killed in tornado

DOUGLAS COUNTY, Ga. — Family and friends are mourning the loss of a beloved Douglasville restaurant owner who died yesterday when at least one tornado hit metro Atlanta.

Channel 2′s Berndt Petersen was in Douglasville, where a tree fell on Scot Hudson’s car as he drove to work on Monday morning.

Hudson owned Hudson’s Hickory House on Veterans Memorial Highway, which has been in the community for nearly 50 years.

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“It’s a community icon. When you come to Douglasville, and I’ve been here 20 years, when you’re here, everybody knew about Hudson’s,” Douglasville resident Vee McCoy said.

[RELATED: People across Douglas County start cleanup process after confirmed tornado touches down]

An outpouring of support came very quickly from the community, where nearly everyone knew Hudson. A memorial quickly grew outside the restaurant after word of Hudson’s death got around.

Ronald Harrison, who has worked at the restaurant for 40 years, remembered the last time he saw his friend.

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It was on Sunday morning, as he was leaving to go out of town to North Carolina. The old friends made plans to cook barbecue.

“I pulled up out back. He was there,” Harrison said. “He said, ‘I just built the fire. You headed north?’ I said, ‘Yeah.’ He said, ‘Be careful. Got some bad weather coming in.’”

Mike Benefield said he was friends with Hudson’s family his entire life.

“I’ve known the family my whole life. Have worked for them. Do anything for them,” Benefield said. “And they’d do the same for me.”

Friends said the Hudson family is holding up the best they can.

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