Nurse Tried to Help in Convenience Store Crash - NewsChannel5.com | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

Nurse Tried to Help in Convenience Store Crash

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By Mark Bellinger

COLUMBIA, Tenn.- The nurse who tried to help in a unbelievable crash of a pickup truck into a Columbia convenience store is speaking out about what she saw.

On Friday, a pickup truck crashed through the front doors of the Columbia Market at 1237 Hampshire Pike. Store owner Surendra Patel was in the store at the time and was hit, but amazingly he was not seriously hurt.

A nurse whose car was totaled in the incident spoke to us about what she saw and how she lost her car.

On December 9th, Nurse Andrea Kreisel was driving down Hampshire Pike. She'd just finished a final exam at Columbia State Community College.

As she drove a man in a pickup truck pulled out in front of her.

Kreisel said she knew something was not right.

"It was fast you know I'm still in shock," said Kreisel

 WEB EXTRA: Amazing Surveillance Video From Columbia

She thought the man in the truck was sick and needed help.

"I'm right behind him he drives all the way down and I see him take that tree out I'm on with 9-1-1 and I see him hit the white Cadillac and drive through the store and I think Oh my God he just drove through the store," said Kreisel

So, she stopped to help.

Store owner Surendra Patel was hit by the truck, but miraculously he escaped serious injury.

Columbia Police said Eric Whitaker faces several charges including attempted murder.

Kreisel said when Whitaker crashed through the front of the store she thought he was having a heart attack or something.

She pulled into the parking lot to help and saw Patel had been hit.

"He had just gotten knocked back that way. You could actually see him get up and walk away from that, and then he came outside and sat at that pump with one shoe off. I'll never forget it," said Kreisel

Then she noticed a frightened woman.

"She's just shaking you know and I'm like is everyone okay? That's when I turn around and I notice the guy is at my car and Oh my God he's stealing my car!" she said.

Police said Whitaker stole Kreisel's car, turned out of the parking lot and hit a bread truck head on. Whitaker's insurance company told Kreisel they won't pay for the damage because it was a criminal act.

"So, I'm just out a car. It's okay though. It's a small price to pay just to know everybody's okay. Nobody lost their life you know," she said.

Columbia Police said Whitaker was aiming for a woman in the store. The police report said that woman was Laquisha Dansby.

Dansby said she gave Whitaker a ride after he ran out of gas at 10th Street and Glade Avenue. She said he was never her boyfriend or ex-boyfriend.

She said after they arrived at Whitaker's residence at 127 Oak Park Drive he tried to steal her car keys, so she took off in her car to get away.

Dansby said Whitaker took off after her in the pickup truck and ran her off the road, so she drove to the convenience store for help.

Columbia Police said Whitaker was taken to Vanderbilt to recover from injuries in the accident with the bread truck. They said when he is released he will be arrested.

Whitaker has a history of domestic violence with women.

Court records said in August 2011 he pleaded guilty to domestic assault involving a different woman. Whitaker was placed on probation and agreed to take a domestic violence class. In 1995 he pleaded guilty to aggravated assault with another woman.

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