Customer in store hit by car: ‘Grateful I'm still here'

by: Greg Suskin Updated:

Loading

ROCK HILL, S.C. - James Jones is walking on crutches, has has pain in his right leg, neck and back.

"Thank God I’m still here, ya know." Jones said.

He was inside discount food and beverage on South Cherry Road in Rock Hill Sunday, when a car appeared out of nowhere.

"I never saw it.  It was so fast, so quick," Jones said.

The 2002 Ford Taurus slammed into the front wall of the store, taking out the entire checkout counter where Jones was standing.  He was thrown to the floor.

"The glass hit me, and I fell down," he said.

Jones heard the manager yelling for him to stay still, and scrambling to find a phone to call 911.  The phone had been on the checkout counter, and it was nowhere to be found.

As Jones was lying on the floor, dazed and in severe pain, what he saw the driver of the car and passenger do next, stunned him.

"She looked at me, and I looked at her and she looked at her friend, and they jumped out of the car and ran," he said.

That was after the driver had already tried to back the car out of the building but couldn't.

Surveillance video caught the whole incident, including the driver and a man running away behind the building and down Main Street.
 
Rock Hill police charged 23-year-old Kieara Brice after she turned herself in several hours later.

Police believe she might have hit the gas instead of the brake while pulling up to the store.

Police said Brice took the Taurus from a house on McCullough Street. Friends said Brice took it without permission and drove off, and then picked up someone else before going to the store.

One woman at the house Monday told Channel 9 that her sister allowed Brice to sit in the car and listen to music and the next thing she knew, it was gone.

Channel 9 was at the bond hearing for Brice early Monday morning.  A judge set her bond at $6,000 for leaving the scene of an accident, and $2,130 for breach of trust, for allegedly taking the car.

Store manager Rick Patel showed Channel 9 his checkout counter, now being rebuilt, but he was not able to play the surveillance video that captured the incident. Patel thinks the damage is somewhere between $7,000 and $9,000.  Large plywood sheets now cover the gaping hole in his front wall.

Patel said he's been through much worse than Sunday’s incident.  Less than two years ago, he was shot twice during a robbery attempt at the same store.

Both of those young men are in prison.

Jones said he's not angry at the woman who could've taken his life. 

"Everybody makes mistakes, but you can correct those mistakes," he said.

Read our past coverage:  Woman arrested after crashing into Rock Hill store