An estimated 135.8 million people plan to shop in-store or online this Thanksgiving weekend, according to the National Retail Federation . In addition to getting first dibs on some great deals, early bird shoppers also have the potential for bumps and bruises—and possibly much worse.
From stampedes to shootings to sleep deprived car crashes, numerous individuals have died in their fervent frenzy to obtain a deal.
Here are five horror stories from Black Friday’s gone by that might give shoppers pause this holiday season and in years to come.
Trampled to Death
In 2008, a Wal-Mart security guard named Jdimytai Damour was trampled to death by a stampede of customers in Valley Stream, N.Y.
Approximately 200 crazed customers, who had flocked to the retail store in search of big deals on flat screen televisions, rushed Damour and other employees in the early morning hours at the Long Island location.
Paramedics arrived shortly after the store's 5 a.m. opening, but failed to revive Damour. He died shortly after at Franklin Hospital.
Four other people were injured in the melee, including a 28-year-old pregnant woman, who later suffered a miscarriage.
The retail giant managed to avoid criminal charges and even contested a $7,000 OSHA fine for nearly seven years before ultimately paying up earlier this year.
Sleep Deprived Dad Kills Daughters
In 2013, a California man was charged with the two counts of vehicular manslaughter after he dozed off at the wheel and struck a parked police car that was assisting a disabled vehicle.
The accident claimed the lives of two of Arvind Tandel’s four daughters who were sitting in the back seat. The man’s four daughters were stuffed into his Lexus SUV’s backseat, which was equipped to fit three. The two that died—ages 12 and 24—were not wearing seatbelts. The third row seat was folded down to make room for the family’s Black Friday purchases.
The police officer, who was assisting two motorists trying to change a tire, was severely injured.
Tandel, who was driving on just three hours of sleep, failed to notice the police officer’s flashing lights and three emergency triangles set up by the motorists as his SUV rolled over the white line that separates the freeway from the right shoulder.
Man Collapses and Dies at Target
In 2011, a West Virginia man became and ill and collapsed while holiday shopping at Target and later died after being transported to a hospital. Some reports stated that fellow Black Friday shoppers showed no concern for the 61-year-old Walter Vance—with some even stepping over and around his body.
An E.R. nurse Kimberly Rowland told WSAZ.com that herself and other shoppers attempted to revive Vance, a pharmacist, before he was taken to the hospital. Vance’s wife Lynn also told reporters that nurses had stepped in to help her husband.
Vance, who was shopping for items for his office, had suffered from heart problems and had open-heart surgery in 2000.
Teen Falls Asleep Behind the Wheel
In another case of sleep deprivation, a 19-year-old teen died after he fell asleep behind the wheel driving back from a Black Friday shopping spree in Concord, N.C.
In 2013, Patrick Henry Boyd, a resident of Clover, S.C., dozed off at the wheel, sending his vehicle off the road and into a sign in front of a gas station. The teen’s four passengers were sent to the hospital, but survived. All four passengers were asleep upon impact.
Deadly Toys ‘R’ Us Shooting
This 2008 horrific Black Friday scene began when two women—each accompanied by a man—started fighting near the checkout area of a Palm Dessert, Calif. Toys ‘R’ Us. As the fight escalated and blood began to flow, the men drew their handguns and shot each other to death.
Reports indicated that this was a personal dispute, possibly gang related, and had nothing to do with discounted merchandise. Luckily, all other shoppers fled as shots rang out and were unharmed.