Clarissa Bye, 18 January 2016

A SAINT was “watching over” a family who were almost killed when an out-of-control car slammed into their business.

Jenny Diab, 45, was trapped behind the counter of the family-owned Belfield BP service station after the speeding Toyota Camry crashed through two security bollards and landed in her store at 9.30pm on Saturday.

“We were so lucky, Saint Charbel was looking down over us,” Mrs Diab said. “The shock of what happened was unbearable.”

Also miraculously lucky was the “mystery woman in the purple skirt”.

Early yesterday police urged the customer to come forward and last night Catherine Crawford told how her face hit the ground during the impact.

“I just got up and out of there because of the gas and I was worried it was going to explode,” she said.

Ms Crawford said she suffered cuts from the glass but was otherwise fine. She said a few people had told her to go and buy a lottery ticket. “I feel I might do that,” she said.

Hero bystander Don Pierre Abdallah, a local resident, ran into the service station as gas was leaking, using a T-shirt around his face to breathe, and tried to drag one of the injured occupants out.

“It took me three goes to persuade him to come out, he wouldn’t come,” Mr Abdallah said. “It was about to blow up.

“The lady who was almost killed didn’t want any attention — she was shaking so much and I could see her arm was grazed, flesh wounds. I said you’ve got blood on you but she said ‘I’m fine, I’m going home.’ ”

Three of the car’s four occupants were treated at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital for injuries including broken arms and internal trauma, while a fourth occupant who fled on foot is being sought

Police have not ruled out drugs, speed or other factors in the crash, which caused major damage to the business.

Cousins and relatives of the Diab brothers, who own the station, turned up at 7am yesterday armed with mops, vacuums and gloves to help clean up.

Mrs Diab says she pressed the red emergency button as soon as the car crashed into the store. She said a cousin at the back of the store moved the ice-cream freezer, which had landed near the counter and blocked her exit.

“You do the training, watch the videos, but the shock of it is terrible,” she said.

Her husband Diab Diab was amazed the car didn’t hit the bowsers, saying he was concerned about leaking gas from the 24 bottles out the front.

“The car must have been going so fast,” he said.

“It is shocking to come so close to death.”

Extracted in full from The Daily Telegraph.