An SUV slammed through the glass exterior of a Great Neck AT&T store Monday, killing a woman shopping there, despite the desperate efforts of bystanders and other customers who banded together and lifted the vehicle in an attempt to save her life, Nassau police said.
The victim, Lizabeth Sbar, 66, of Great Neck, was struck from behind as she sat on a bench inside the store and was pinned under the vehicle, police said. The driver, whom police did not identify, was a 65-year-old woman who apparently lost control of the vehicle as she attempted to park outside the store, police said.
Police are investigating, but the driver passed a sobriety test and Insp. Kenneth Lack, a police spokesman, said he did not expect any charges to be filed.
"It strictly appears to be an accident," Lack said. "It may be a malfunction with the car."
A group of bystanders -- about 10 people -- lifted the SUV to free Sbar, who was then taken to North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset, where she was pronounced dead at 1:01 p.m., Lack said.
A man who answered Sbar's cellphone Monday night identified himself only as Giorgio and said he was her longtime boyfriend. They were at the store, he said, because he was "trying to find a cellphone I thought would work for me."
They were in the store, he said, when suddenly "there was this big bang. The car was on top of her. It's terrible! People tried to help, yes, but it was a foregone conclusion."
The bystanders, some of whom ran into the store, "literally pushed and lifted the car off of her," Lack said. Two other people -- a customer and a store employee -- suffered minor injuries, Lack said.
"The customers, staff and others did a fantastic job of lifting the car and removing the injured victim," Lack said.
Sbar was divorced and had no children and had been dating her current boyfriend for 17 years, the man said. He said she worked as a massage therapist and he described her as a "wonderful woman." Sbar's family could not be reached Monday.
The accident occurred about 10:50 a.m. when the driver of a gold 2006 Toyota Rav 4, and her daughter, 25, were attempting to buy a phone accessory from the AT&T store at 47 Northern Blvd.
"As they were pulling into the spot, the driver stated, 'The car just would not stop,' and she proceeded right through the store and the car wound up in the store," Lack said.
Lack said the woman has a valid driver's license. He said police have video of the crash, but are "not releasing it at this time."
The fatal crash comes 11 days after Jerome Arnold, 69, of Farmingdale -- an unlicensed driver -- fled the scene of an accident and plowed into an East Farmingdale Panera Bread restaurant, injuring two people, one seriously, police said. Arnold has pleaded not guilty to leaving the scene of an accident with property damage, a violation, and third-degree aggravated unlicensed operation for driving with a suspended license, a misdemeanor.
In 2012, 6-year-old David Granados was killed in Hempstead Village when a NICE bus driver swerved to avoid hitting a pedestrian and plowed into Granados' Fulton Avenue home.