A convenience store owner in Tennessee is lucky to be alive today after being hit by a truck that plowed into his store during dispute between the driver and a female friend.
Surendra Patel was working at the Columbia Market store he owns in Columbia, Tenn., last Friday when a pickup truck came out of nowhere and crashed through the store’s glass front.
The store’s video surveillance cameras show Patel being crushed under the debris, but then somehow emerging and walking away, seemingly unscathed.
While Patel was the only person in the store hit by the truck, he was not the intended target of its driver, Erik Whitaker.
Whitaker, 40, was aiming for his friend, Laquisha Dansby, 37, with whom police officials say he was involved in a dispute.
Columbia police say Whitaker was chasing Dansby after an argument, and followed her all the way into Patel’s convenience store where she had run to escape.
Before Dansby could yell a warning to customers in the store, Whitaker plows into the store, hitting Patel. He is then seen exiting his truck to check if he has hit his intended target.
Seeing that Dansby is still on the run, Whitaker, surveillance video shows, exits the store and gets behind the wheel of an SUV belonging to a customer, Andrea Kreisel, as she goes inside the store to pay for gas.
“I turn around and I notice the guy is out at my car and I’m like OMG, he’s stealing my car,” Kreisel said.
While Kreisel called 911 to report the robbery, Whitaker saw his attempted getaway cut short. Immediately after exiting the store’s parking lot in the SUV, he plowed head-on into a bread delivery truck.
Whitaker had to be helicoptered from the scene to Vanderbilt Medical Center, where he remains in critical but stable condition.
Columbia police say the charges he will face when he is released from the hospital could include attempted first degree murder, aggravated assault and theft for allegedly taking Kreisel’s SUV.
The surveillance video that captured the incident will be allowed as evidence to prosecute Williams, police said.
The store owner, Patel, suffered only minor cuts and bruises and is now recovering at home.