Marine saves woman who crashed car into Wingstop in Spring Branch

HARRIS COUNTY, Texas – Houston police say a car crashed into the Wingstop in west northwest Harris County Thursday afternoon.

Witnesses said the driver didn't appear to attempt to stop. Broken glass covered the floor of the business. The car was seen stuck in the wall of the Wingstop.

"We heard a loud screeching and then a huge explosion, came outside and this lady drove straight through Wingstop," said Chris Katthage, who was dropping something off at a nearby post office.

Katthage ran to the site of the crash.

"(The car) actually got through one business and got stuck in the wall of a second business, so the wheels were stuck spinning," Katthage said. "So I knew for me I had to get the car in park." 

Katthage said he found out an 85-year-old woman -- the driver -- was inside and unresponsive. He said he punched the car into park and took out the keys. Katthage joined the Marines when he was 17-year-old. He later volunteered to fight in active duty in Iraq and Afghanistan.

He used his quick response training, broke the glass window and tried to get the driver out.

"Her head was hanging down, and so I kind of pulled her head back up to see if she was still breathing," Katthage said. "She wasn't, and so I used the seat belt strap to hold her up and gave her rescue breathing."

After several sets of compressions, he said she was finally breathing on her own.

"I physically carried her out of the car through the window and put her in a chair and gave her some water," Katthage said.

He said the woman told him her brakes didn't work. Police eventually came. It was about 1:30 p.m. Witnesses said no customers were at the Wingstop and no one was reported injured. Katthage helped the woman get her belongings.

"I cleaned the trunk out, and I turned around and one of the wires from the ceiling hit me on the other side of the head and electrocuted me for about six or seven seconds," Katthage said.

The wire, he said, shocked him both mentally and physically.

"It rattles you. You don't really know what's going on for a couple seconds and then you're pretty dizzy," Katthage said. "I clenched down so hard that I broke a bridge, some dental work and I popped out a crown."

He said he has to replace his bridge, crown and repair two cracked teeth. However, he said he was more concerned if others were hurt. He called it "miraculous" that no one else was. He doesn't consider himself a hero.

"No. I didn't even think about it. I think anybody would have done that," Katthage said.

"I guess it’s the training and being a Marine. You don't really question things you just do it."

Katthage said he is in touch with the woman's family. They tell him she's expected to be OK.

Wingstop posted a sign that it would reopen in a couple of days.

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