DUI suspect was driving wrong way before crashing into W. Harris County restaurant, witnesses say

Jeff Ehling Image
Wednesday, September 7, 2022
DUI suspect slams into restaurant with customers inside, HPD says
Witnesses said the man was driving the wrong way when he lost control and slammed into the restaurant. Investigators said he was wanted for felony warrants.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- A wrong-way driver is suspected of driving under the influence when he crashed into a restaurant in west Houston, according to police.

Surveillance video shows the moment the crash happened. Sparks flew as the driver sped into the building.

The crash happened just after 9:30 p.m. Tuesday in the 14000 block of Westheimer Road near Highway 6 at Komchop -- a West African restaurant.

The owner said there were at least a dozen customers eating inside the restaurant when the crash happened.

Witnesses told ABC13 they saw the Toyota Corolla speeding the wrong way on Westheimer -- traveling westbound in the eastbound lanes -- when he lost control of his vehicle.

That's when the car went off the road, hit a dip, went airborne, clipped a sign, then crashed into the office area of the restaurant, witnesses said.

Witnesses said the driver was speeding when he lost control and went airborne before slamming into the building. One customer was injured by broken glass that went flying.

Video from the scene shows the car slammed into the side of the restaurant, surrounded by debris.

"You see how close the chair is? People were sitting there. If it was a second away, it would have been a disaster," witness Jeremiah Okuchaba said. "People would have lost their lives. He would have lost his life, and I don't know why people take that risk."

The crash sent glass flying, injuring one customer.

The 38-year-old driver was trapped inside the car and had to be rescued, Houston police said. He was the only one inside the car at the time of the crash.

Both the driver and the customer who was injured were taken to the hospital in stable condition, police said. The driver has since been discharged.

Police said the driver is suspected of being under the influence, with possible DUI or drug charges pending.

Investigators said he was wanted for felony warrants.

The car missed the restaurant portion of the business where customers were seated by just a few feet.

"Thank God. There are customers inside. He ran into the office. If he had run into the other side, which is the left side, people would have been on the floor dead by now," restaurant owner Kehinde Sule said. "I'm just thankful to God that it's just the office."

The repairs needed at the restaurant are extensive and will likely cost thousands.

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