HCSO: Drunken driver crashes into lighting store

Harold Clayton accused of crashing into Lighting Gallery

HOUSTON - A suspected drunken driver crashed into a northwest Harris County store early Friday, investigators said.

Harris County sheriff's deputies said the incident happened at the Lighting Gallery in the 6200 block of F.M. 1960 near Shiloh Church Road about 7:30 a.m.

A witness saw the driver flee the store and followed him to a nearby apartment complex, investigators said.

"I saw the tires pop and I started running out of the store because I knew something bad was going to happen," said Jason Vaughn, who works next door to the lighting store. "When I saw the guy trying to get away, I said, 'I need to video it.' He proceeded to back up and try to get out of the store, which he did after about 30 seconds of drive and reverse. He was able to get back onto 1960 and drive away. It was kind of shocking."

Deputies arrested Harold Clayton, 59, and charged him with driving while intoxicated and failure to stop and give information.

There was extensive damage to the front of the building and merchandise inside.

"We are talking about some structural damage of course, but a lot of lighting fixtures will need to be replaced -- into the hundreds of thousands (of dollars)," store owner Ann Morgan said.

Morgan said the store will be closed until repairs can be made.

"It puts a hold on everything because we can't do business for a while. It kind of smacks you, but you can just sit back and say, 'It's just possessions and thank goodness no one was hurt,'" Morgan said.

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