BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Terrifying storefront crashes are happening here in Maryland and around the country. Cars driving right into stores, hitting and even killing the people inside.
A Maryland man who nearly died is sharing his horrifying story.
Marcus Washington investigates this growing danger.
Out of control cars driving right into stores, slamming into customers and employees.
In September, an SUV rams into an Ellicott City Dunkin’ Donuts, hitting two men outside and pinning them between the car and the building. Medics rush them to the hospital.
“That incident that day happened so fast that the two people walking inside weren’t able to get out of the way quick enough,” said Steve Hardesty, Howard County Special Operations.
These types of crashes–happening at an alarming rate. Just ask Mark Wright.
He’s inside a Montgomery County 7-Eleven in 2008 getting a soda like he normally does when a car comes crashing through straight at him.
“It just–bam–it just kept coming. And that fast, it was into me, crashing through me, pushing me back inside of the store,” said Wright.
Washington: “You’re lying there, bloody, did you think you were going to die?”
Wright: “It was almost like everything just came to a halt for what felt like a long time–I’m sure was only seconds–everybody in the store–we were all just in shock.”
Doctors tell Mark the damage is so severe, it looks like he’s been in a “war zone.”
“It’s a military-grade injury in the sense that if you stepped on an IED and you still had a leg attached, it would do this kind of damage,” said Wright.
Over eights months of rehab, Mark wonders if he is alone and if anything can be done to stop this from happening.
Washington: “What motivated you to do something and put in the work for the research?”
Wright: “Number one, I lived… I survived… so I felt a certain sense of obligation to just do something and number two, I recognized from the research that a lot of other people have been affected by this.”
Mark starts the Volunteer Storefront Safety Council after discovering no government agency tracks these crashes. His research shows an estimated 60 times a day, a car strikes a building somewhere in the United States.
“There have been a number of fatalities from these kinds of accidents,” said Wright.
There’s a simple solution to keeping cars out of stores–concrete barriers and pillars. Pay attention, and you’ll notice them outside other stores across Maryland–but you’ll also notice many stores without them.
Safeway tells WJZ the barriers are worth it.
“To put these in, they pay for themselves very, very quickly and so we just think it’s important to have them there creating that environment of safety,” said Craig Muckle, Safeway public affairs.
Washington: “What do you say to companies who think putting up these barriers costs too much?”
Wright: “I say you’re living on borrowed time. If you’ve got parking spaces where vehicles are pulling right up to your building… it’s like aiming a loaded gun at a building or at a bunch of people–but it happens to be on four wheels and the person at the steering wheel is the one with the trigger.”
For more information on storefront crashes and what’s being done to stop them, CLICK HERE.