HOUSTON – A local business owner said one minute she was living it up for her birthday, and the next she said she was suffering from bizarre symptoms.
Now, the woman is using the incident to warn others.
“I could’ve died. I have my children and my husband,” said Erin Mims.
On Thursday, Mims said she and her husband Bobbie Marshall were back working at their hair salon, but on Mims’ birthday on Tuesday, she said she wasn’t sure she was going to make it.
“I felt like I couldn’t breathe. My chest started hurting, I was getting hot flashes, my heart was racing, just a whole bunch of stuff. I told my husband that I didn’t feel well,” Mims explained.
She said the entire thing started after leaving her birthday brunch at the Prospect Park Willowbrook location when she noticed a napkin stuffed in her door handle.
“I took it out with my nails and threw it and got in the car. I asked him (my husband) about it and he said he didn’t put a napkin in there,” Mims said.
Despite going back inside to wash her hands, Mims and Marshall believe whatever was on that tissue transferred onto her door handle and into her body.
“My fingertips started tingling. In my mind I’m thinking I’m just overreacting,” Mims said.
Moments later, instead of heading to the spa, Mims said she was spending her special day fearing for her life in a hospital bed at HCA Houston Healthcare
“It’s crazy. It just makes me think that we’re not safe and that there are some crazy people going out in the world doing things,” Marshall said.
After running tests and flushing out her system, Mims said a doctor told her she suffered acute poisoning, but because there wasn’t much of it in her system, they couldn’t identify the substance.
After posting her experience on social media, Mims said she learned that she may not have been the only one targeted.
“Someone reached out to me and let me know it wasn’t just my car but they saw it on multiple cars,” Mims said.
Now, the couple says they’ve gained a new sense of awareness.
“It just makes me watch my surroundings. I can read lips now. Whatever it is I’m paying attention,” Marshall said
The Houston Police Department said it is aware of the incident and is investigating this as a possible assault. They’re asking anyone with any information to contact their office.
“What if my husband wasn’t there to bring me to the hospital immediately? What would’ve happened?” Mims asked.
HCA Houston Healthcare released the following statement regarding the incident:
“If anyone feels like they have been exposed to a poisonous substance, signs and symptoms may include burns or redness, breath that smells like chemicals, vomiting, difficulty breathing, drowsiness and confusion or an altered mental state. They should seek emergency medical treatment or call 911 immediately, especially if they are having difficulty breathing, are restless, drowsy or experiencing seizures.
Individuals can call Poison Control at 800-222-1222 or go to poison.org if they suspect poisoning and need help. Poison Control can help with first aid measures.”
Prospect Park said they did not have a comment on the incident when KPRC 2 reached out on Thursday.