A desperate attempt to stop a car thief has left a pizza delivery driver with serious head injuries after he was thrown from his moving vehicle near Manning and Englehart Avenues just outside of Reedley last weekend.
It began in the parking lot of the Me-N-Eds Pizzeria on Manning Avenue on April 14 sometime after 2:30 p.m. when the delivery driver encountered the man inside his vehicle.
“The car was running, the victim went inside to get something, he comes back out and the suspect has gotten in the car in the driver’s seat,” said Lt. Marc Ediger with the Reedley Police Department. “The passenger window is down and the victim then jumps in through the passenger window.”
The victim, a Me-N-Ed’s delivery driver, jumped into his car through the open window of the passengers seat to try and stop the thief before he drove away. But the suspect continued to drive away, leaving the man dangling from the car.
“He’s telling the guy ‘stop, you’re not taking my car’,” Ediger continued. “The suspect then put the car in drive and began driving away.”
Ediger said the suspect headed east on Manning toward Crawford Avenue with the victim clinging onto the side. Half his body was holding onto the passenger seat while his legs were dangling outside.
“He [the victim] fell out of the vehicle at Manning and Englehart, we don’t know how fast they were going but they were going pretty fast,” said Ediger. “We don’t have an exact speed but the victim was not able to hold on any further, fell out of the window and had some pretty severe head injuries.”
Dana Boss, the Crime Analyst with the Reedley Police Department, said the victim was dragged more than a mile before letting go.
“He did talk today, he is talking and he is conscious,” said Boss on April 16. “What I was told is that he’ll be at the hospital for a couple weeks followed by an extensive recovery period.”
A vehicle matching the description of the victim’s car was found in an orchard near Orange Cove on April 16.
“CHP located the vehicle in the area of Manning and Hills Valley Road,” said Boss. “We do have officers and our CSI team processing the vehicle.”
Ediger said it’s important for those who have been victims of crimes such as these to understand the property is not worth losing a life over.
“You never know the intent or the capacity of the person stealing the car,” he said. “Your life is always more important than a vehicle, and not knowing if someone is armed, there are a lot of criminals who have guns, knives, weapons.
“It didn’t result in that for this victim, but the seriousness of his injury, due to him trying to hang onto that car, he has a long road to recovery ahead.”
Ediger added, “Unfortunately, if you are the victim of a robbery, a carjacking or any type of theft, it’s just better to give them the property.”
The suspect remained at large as of April 16.
Anyone with information is asked to call the Reedley Police Department at (559) 637-4250.