Minivan crashes into Hartford, Conn. convenience store, causes massive damage

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November 3, 2013, 7:43 am
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(NECN/NBC News: Seth Lemon) - The driver of a minivan plowed through the front doors of a Sam’s Food Convenience store in Hartford, Conn. following Halloween, nearly running over three customers, including a costumed nun.

Surveillance video caught the scene on tape.

Minutes before midnight, two men entered the store, as another one left. The minivan barreled through the front entrance, knocking the man out of the way, flinging chunks of heavy debris right at customers inside.

"My fiancé jumped on the counter and he started screaming. And I thought we were being shot at or something. And I turned and I looked and there was a minivan behind me," said Mikki Simons, a witness.

Simons, wearing a nun costume, was in front of the cash register.

"Next to me there was a woman on the ground and there was another, there was a guy on the ground," Simons recalled.

The damage from the inside is staggering. Employees are working to clean it up.

Police say three customers were injured.

They identified the driver as 27-year-old Rosa Rios of Hartford. They say she told police her foot slipped off the break and onto the gas. She was arrested and faces three charges.

"I can't believe how fast she's driving. Thank god nobody was hurt," said Mohammed Iqbal, the store manager.

Iqbal has no idea when he can reopen and says a city official told him he has to wait for city approval.

"I already don't have really good business these days, with the economy and people have no job, plus these things," Iqbal continued.

Simons and her fiancé, who grabbed her tightly to protect her, says she's very grateful, in light of their upcoming special day.

"I just kept thinking, I’m getting married in April. And so, it was one of those things where I’ve seen it on TV happen... It was just surreal to be living it," said Simons.

The driver was charged with failure to carry a license, insufficient insurance, and unsafe movement from a stopped position.

Tags: NBC News, hartford connecticut, Seth Lemon, Sam'd Food Convenience, Mikki Simons, Rosa Rios, Mohammed Iqbal
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