NORTH BAY VILLAGE(CBS4) – Two North Bay Village residents who were inside a Hess gas station convenience store when a car crashed into are saying it was a “terrifying experience” and they’ll never forget “people screaming.”
“At first I thought it was a bomb but then I noticed it was a car. It happened so fast,” said Stephanie DeMarco in a CBS4 Exclusive.
She told CBS4’s Peter D’Oench that she was inside the store with her 3-year-old daughter Layla when a BMW smashed through the glass in the front of the store, mowing down soda machines and knocking over shelves stocked with bottles and food.
“I was holding my daughter’s hand and then suddenly we got separated,” DeMarco told D’Oench. “My husband was saying you have to find her. She disappeared. There’s a wall of bottles. They were two liter bottles. They wiped her out. It was terrifying. She was screaming.”
“My heart was racing. It was so scary,” she said. “My daughter had a little cut on her belly and her gums, but she is going to be fine. Five seconds earlier and it could have been a different story. I’m just happy that she is okay. If anything happened to her, I would have gone off the deep end.”
CBS4 also spoke exclusively with Jerome Diaz, who said, “I was getting gas and walking out the front door when it sounded like a bomb exploded. I standing there and then the car came in and there was panic and people were screaming.”
Diaz was injured and plans to see a doctor.
“It came so close to me that it swiped my back. It hit the right side of my body and brushed it and I heard a whoosh,” he said. “It could have been me up on the hood of that car. I could have been up there for sure.”
North Bay Village cited the driver, 42-year-old Marileine Camacho, with careless driving, and driving without prescription glasses, a criminal citation.
She told CBS4, “Basically I was parking and I thought I was braking. Then I found I was accelerating. The rug got stuck on the accelerator. It happened in seconds. Then I was flying.”
D’Oench asked DeMarco for her reaction to that statement.
“It could happen,” DeMarco said. “I’ve seen how mats can get stuck on pedals.”
Camacho was treated on the scene for minor injuries after the accident.
Employees at the Hess station said Camacho was a regular customer.
“I was just stopping at the store to get donuts,” she said. “And this happened.”
A Hess store manager said there could be tens of thousands of dollars in damage.
The Hess Express store reopened by late Thursday afternoon. The shattered glass window was covered with plywood.