HOUSTON (CN) – A man who was shot and paralyzed at a Wells Fargo drive-through ATM blames the bank for refusing to increase security or warn customers despite 12 violent crimes with a deadly weapon at the bank in the past 3 years.
Oscar Hernandez says man with a gun approached his car as he inserted his debit card into the Wells Fargo ATM at the bank’s 3434 Tidwell Road outlet in Houston on Sept. 30, 2010.
The man told Hernandez to withdraw cash as a second man slid into the passenger seat and also demanded money, Hernandez says.
“Terrified, (Hernandez) attempted to comply, but was nervous, which caused him to enter the required PIN number incorrectly twice; prompting an automatic confiscation of his card by the ATM,” Hernandez says.
The gunman then shot him in the chest and in the neck at close range. (Graph 35)
Hernandez lay bleeding in his car for hours until another ATM customer and discovered him and called 911.
“Mr. Hernandez’s treatment is ongoing, but he has suffered permanent and catastrophic injuries which have left him paralyzed. Mr. Hernandez suffered a spinal cord injury due to a bullet in the spinal canal rendering him a quadriplegic (except limited use of his right hand),” the complaint states. (Parentheses in complaint.) Hernandez, his wife and three minor children seek damages from Wells Fargo, from the director of security for its Houston division John Glos, and from the Tidwell Road branch manager Vanessa Eaton.
The lawsuit cites 13 incidents, starting in April 2007 and ending with Hernandez’s shooting, in which Wells Fargo customers were robbed at gunpoint at ATM, or inside the bank. Sometimes their cars were stolen too.
Despite this rash of crimes, “defendants John Glos and Vanessa Easton intentionally and knowingly decided that they would not increase security or warn customers of the criminal activity. Defendants John Glos and Vanessa Eaton turned a blind eye to the violent crime, and chose to expose unsuspecting bank customers to an increasingly high risk of danger,” according to the complaint.
Hernandez adds: “Wells Fargo knew or should have known that because of the lack of crime deterrent measures and customer safety measures, a crime like the one perpetrated against (him) might occur.”
Hernandez and his family are represented in Harris County Court by Robert Ammons.