UPDATE: Surveillance video shows van crashing into Tyler store


TYLER (KYTX) - Plato's Closet of Tyler opened its doors for business Saturday, bouncing back from a van crashing through their store Friday afternoon. Employees stayed late Friday night cleaning up the store, and closing up holes with sheets of plywood. The store manager hopes to have replacement glass in by early next week.


TYLER (KYTX) -- The impact of a wreck involving 6 vehicles sent a van crashing into Plato's Closet in Tyler on Friday afternoon.

Tyler Police say that the van was traveling eastbound on Loop 323 around 4:30 when it hit the back of another car, causing a chain reaction that damaged four others. The van crossed over the westbound lanes without hitting any oncoming traffic and crashed into Plato's Closet.

Several employees were inside. One of them had been standing behind the counter in the corner the van crashed into immediately prior to the crash. Store employees said they assumed she had been caught under the rubble and were relieved to discover she was alright in another part of the store.

In surveillance video posted on Plato's Closet's facebook page, you see a customer standing at a counter.

In just a few seconds, the wall comes crashing down, knocking over the counter as the customer barely escapes.

Joe and Laura Stewart had brought their family to sell some items at the store. They were on the far side of the counter near the impact point when the van came crashing in.

"I thank God.  Because, if it would have been just minutes prior to when it happened, we would have been under that van. I mean, that's where we were standing, that's exactly the spot where we were," said Laura Stewart.

Laura described the sounds as being like something she had never heard. Joe said he helped the elderly driver out of the van after clearing some electrical cables from the crash area.

"He had to get his hearing aid. He couldn't hear without it. He couldn't understand me and his wife was having to talk to him and make him understand to stay in the vehicle," said Joe Stewart.

Both of them said they were thankful no one inside the store was hurt. Two people were taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

55-year-old Johnny Luker of Brownsboro was the driver of the van.

We spoke to his parents Friday night. They say he and his wife, who was also in the car, are okay. But, they don't know the details of what caused him to lose control of the van.

The accident remains under investigation.


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