Car crashes into H-E-B in Gulfgate, killing 1, injuring 7

HOUSTON (KTRK) -- One person was killed and several people injured Monday when a vehicle plowed into a grocery store in the Gulfgate area.

It happened at the H-E-B on Woodridge near the Gulf Freeway. Customers who were there say the 74-year-old female driver of the Saturn SUV was pulling out of her handicapped parking spot and pushed on the gas, hightailing it in reverse and barreled through a concrete barrier, right into several check out lanes.

Houston police say Carla Sanchez, 31, was in the store checking out with her two-year-old child when she was struck and killed by the vehicle.

Photos from inside the H-E-B

Eyewitnesses said that mother made a split second decision to save her toddler.

"She pushed her little girl out the way. She avoided the car getting to the little girl," said HEB cashier Yuditth Garcia.

Six other people, including customers and workers, had injuries ranging from scrapes and cuts to broken bones. They were transported to area hospitals.

"I heard people screaming but I didn't go inside because I didn't want to see people injured," said Christina Rodriguez.

Rodriguez said the SUV narrowly missed her hot dog stand.

The driver has been detained for questioning. That driver's family is on the scene, as well.

One shopper said he was about to check out when the vehicle came plowing in.

"There were around 15 people around the front, and when the car came and actually hit, nobody noticed and it went boom," said shopper Fred Davis. "And people just fell because they were close by, and the glass was shattered."

Garcia said she fears that the concrete barriers are not enough to protect against cars that can come crashing in.

"I feel like they should have different types of barriers that are going to be able to hold on stronger. From what I believe, those are not strong anymore," said Garcia.

An H-E-B spokeswoman said they are taking another look at the barriers.

"We are assessing it. We are working with our safety team along with the fire department and the police department to assess exactly what happened and then will have an answer for you," said Cindy Garza.

The store is closed until further notice. At this point, no charges have been filed against that elderly driver.
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