Outback Steakhouse employee recounts events following van crash

SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - Another employee that was present when a van crashed into an Outback Steakhouse on Abercorn Street is gaving her account of what happened on Friday night.

She was near the kitchen when the van crashed into the Outback and described it as like thousands of pieces of glass breaking.

"I was hearing the shhhh sound and I figured it was a leak."

Chala Hidri remembers what happened after a driver slammed into the back of this Outback Steakhouse. Police say the driver is 42-year-old Daniel Lanier.

"The smell of gas got stronger," said Chala Hidri. "Cop car after cop car after ambulance after fire truck. It kept going for like an hour."

Hidri says it was just a normal busy night and she was ready to be at work the next day. That's when she heard glasses shattering and something that sounded like an explosion.

"Everyone just started screaming," says Hidri. She says that everyone got out as fast as they could-so fast that her purse is still in the building. She says doesn't care about that though. All she cares about is if her coworkers are okay.

"I didn't realize it, but we are like family," Hidri admits. "I love them. I care about them. I didn't I really did, but I do."

Three people have been transported to the Burn center in Augusta, and the hole has also been patched up by contractors until further notice.

"I hope I get to see them soon," Hidri says. "They are going to be in my thoughts every day and every night."

The City of Savannah isn't allowing anyone in the building and work won't begin until contractors have the approval to get everything back to normal.

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