ATLANTA -- A suspected carjacker is recovering from a broken femur after leading police on a chase and crashing into another car. How he was caught is a story in and of itself.
Last Tuesday afternoon, an Atlanta couple was parked along Cambellton Road waiting for their granddaughter to get her hair done. That's when an armed man carjacked them.
“All of a sudden, the back door opened and the gun came out. He said ‘close the door and pull off,'" the victim told 11Alive's Duffie Dixon.
The suspect forced the female driver and her husband -- who didn't want to be identified -- to drive around for an hour.
“He kept telling me to do what he said or he’d shoot us," she recounted. "He said he wanted us to make some stops. At one point he said he needed to go to Union City to ’pick up more guns."
Realizing they would be heading out of town, the victim said she knew she had to do something. She spotted an Atlanta Police cruiser at the intersection of Centra Villa Drive and Sandtown Road and headed right for it.
Inside that cruiser was Atlanta Police Capt. Rick Mason.
"A vehicle turned right at a very slow pace and drove straight at me," Mason told 11Alive. "I thought she might be texting and driving.
But as the car passed closely next to him, he realized someone was very wrong.
“There was a look of terror on the driver’s face, and I could read her lips saying ‘help me,'" Mason said.
He began to make a U-turn when the woman jumped from the car and came running toward the officer screaming that someone had kidnapped them and was trying to rob them.
As the officer was trying to make sense of what she was saying, he said her husband jumped out of the passenger seat and took cover behind his police car.
Mason said the armed suspect came out last with a frantic look on his face. He jumped into the driver’s seat and took off.
“I asked the couple to step back, and I chased the suspect. He was driving recklessly and ran several stop signs and red light,” said Capt. Mason.
When the officer caught up to the suspect, he had crashed the stolen car into another and broke his leg. He was quickly handcuffed and taken into custody.
Police now say it is a good thing he was caught, because he would have likely committed more crimes. A later search turned up the wallet from a different carjacking victim who had been robbed hours earlier.
As for the victims he took on that hour-plus ride, they’re just happy he’s off the streets. The female driver’s husband calls her the real hero for her quick thinking and seeking out that officer.
“We just thank the Lord it’s over and no one got hurt,” she said.