Sonic Drive-In employee escapes major injury after car explodes outside restaurant in NW Houston, police say

HOUSTON – A man walked away from serious injuries after Houston police say his car exploded outside a northwest Houston Sonic Drive-In restaurant late Friday night.

Authorities were called to the scene at around 11:15 a.m. in the 5100 block of West 34th Street near U.S. 290.

Police said a Sonic employee had just finished his work shift when he approached his car and smelled an odor similar to gasoline.

When the employee started the car, police said the smell worsened. He had rolled his windows down to air out the interior.

At some point, after the employee stepped out of the car, it apparently produced a large boom that could be heard from miles, according to police. Parts of the vehicle flew up to 100 feet away, including a large portion that flew over the restaurant.

The employee was transported to an area hospital to be treated for minor injuries, which police said it’s “a miracle he survived.”

Police said the employee’s relative had left his welding equipment, including an acetylene tank, inside the car’s trunk. Investigators said it may have triggered the explosion.

HPD bomb squad and the ATF were called to investigate the explosion, which police said it may be accidental.

About the Author:

A graduate of the University of Houston-Downtown, Ana moved to H-Town from sunny southern California in 2015. In 2020, she joined the KPRC 2 digital team as an intern. Ana is a self-proclaimed coffee connoisseur, a catmom of 2, and an aquarium enthusiast. In her spare time, she's an avid video gamer and loves to travel.