On Tuesday, Jonaya Peterson was almost run over by a suspected drunken driver inside a Waterbury convenience store.
The Waterbury woman spoke exclusively with NBC Connecticut and shared her frightening ordeal.
“I just heard a loud boom and it just happened so fast, I had no time to react to that,” Peterson said.
She was standing at the counter inside the 7-Eleven on Cooke Street on Monday night when a black Ford Explorer slammed into the store, and almost ran her over.
There was no way to prepare for what happened.
“Very shocking. I didn’t know what to do. I was just standing there. It was so unreal,” Peterson said.
Surveillance cameras inside the store captured the scare. Peterson didn’t know how close of a call it actually was until NBC Connecticut showed her the dramatic images.
“Oh my gosh!” she exclaimed.
Peterson said she actually planned to check out at the register, where the car eventually crashed, and changed her mind at the last second.
“I think I’m very lucky. My angels were looking over me because, after seeing that video -- it's hard to watch,” Peterson said.
Peterson was buying a lottery ticket when Kennedy Dowdell plowed through the glass and struck Peterson in the back, police said.
“I just know I felt that sharp pain, and I got pushed against the register,” she said.
Then she noticed the threat wasn’t over, so she jumped on the counter to get out of harm’s way. Dowdell put the car in reverse, backed out of the store and fled, according to police.
“I'm pretty mad because, never in a million years would I imagine that would happen to me,” Peterson said.
Waterbury Police tracked down Dowdell a short time later on Hill Street after a store clerk recognized him.
When police asked Dowdell to take a sobriety test he said, "I ain't taking no test. I'm drunk and I know I will fail the test," according to court documents.
Dowdell faced a judge in Waterbury on Tuesday about the charges of third-degree assault, operating under the influence and other charges.
“Within the last year, he (Dowdell) just got back from serving two tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. What you’re going to see here is young men make mistakes,” his attorney, Donald Papcsy, said.
It was a possible mistake that sent Peterson to the hospital and nearly cost this woman her life.
“I'm just happy to be alive ... I don’t want to cry,” she said.
Kennedy Dowdell was out of jail on Tuesday and will be in court again on April 24.