'I Feel Lucky': Cashier Escapes Car Crash Into Station

PHOTO The car narrowly missed a direct collision with the cashier inside.PlayABC News
WATCH Angry Man Plows SUV Into Gas Station

Twelve inches meant the difference between life and death for a cashier in Springfield, Ore., who narrowly escaped when a car drove into the gas station where he worked.

Ryan Shaw, 27, of Springfield, said usually the most action he'd see during his shift -- 9:45 p.m. to 6 a.m., five days a week -- was the random drunk person.

Shaw, who was sweeping at the time, didn't hear the car before it crashed into the Arco AMPM at 2:30 a.m. Saturday.

"I heard it once it came crashing through the wall," said Shaw. "The hearing and feeling all happened in a split second. I was just doing my own thing. Cleaning up and getting the chores done for the day."

Thanks to what he called "a triangle of safety" created by the two counters between which he was standing, Shaw was able to jump away as the car plowed into the wall. He said instinct took over after that.

"I was gonna run for safety," Shaw said. "The second I could move again, I jumped up and ran. I was thinking it was a car. I'm hoping this guy doesn't hit the gas again."

An off-duty EMT -- the only other person in the gas station at the time -- and an off-duty Oregon state trooper who was getting gas at the time tended to Shaw's injuries. Shaw sustained a bruise to the right thigh, a scraped knee and a bruised elbow.

"Had he been 12 inches in another direction," said Casey Wilson, the store's manager, "we would be having a whole different kind of conversation."

According to police and local news reports, the driver of the car -- a late-model Pontiac -- had been arguing with his female passenger and driving erratically around the gas station's parking lot before plowing into the store. Wilson said the driver was arrested.

The hole in the building has been temporarily patched up with plywood.

Crash No. 2 for Gas Station Manager

"I'm not concerned about the hole at all," Wilson said. "I'm only concerned about the safety of my employee. That was my 100 percent primary concern."

The gas station manager said that he had four 200-pound concrete containers placed as barriers in front of his family's other gas station 13 miles away after a car drove into the store 14 months ago. At the Springfield store, there were two containers in front of the glass wall. He has since had one of them moved in front of the hole.

Tonight, Shaw will return to the job he's held for two and a half years. "I was lucky," he said. "I feel lucky."

ABC affiliate KEZI contributed to this story.