CALHOUN, Ga. -- How far would you go to stop a crime?
A Calhoun man went as far as to step in front of a getaway van of suspects speeding away from a Home Depot. He did it to help stop a crime -- a shoplifting.
Eric Mowry spent only one night in the hospital after his body slid 28 feet down Highway 53 in Calhoun when he was thrown from the van. His face has stitches and road burns and his left eye is shut. His hands are smothered in bandages.
"You can see my bones right here on my knuckles," Mowry told 11Alive's Kevin Rowson.
Mowry works on a tow truck, which was parked in the Home Depot parking lot on Highway 53. He and his boss were talking outside the truck when two men pushing two shopping carts full of power tools and high-end faucets ran out of the store.
Calhoun PoliceChief Garry Moss said the two men headed toward a green Dodge Caravan.
"And they just walked out the door pushing carts and one of the employees told them to stop and they took off running," he said.
Shortly after, Mowry and his boss saw the shoplifters loading the stolen merchandise into the van. Mowry said he ran toward the van to distract the drive while his boss tried to get a license plate number.
"By the time I got in front of the van, they had already taken off towards me and I didn't have time to run left or right," he said.
He had nowhere to turn. "I thought I was dead," he said. "When I hit the van it felt like the van was going 60-70mph."
Mowry said he jumped onto the hood of the van so he didn't get run over. He hung on while staring through the windshield at a female driver.
"I was begging her to stop," he said. "I just said 'let me off, I don't care what you do, just let me off.' She said, 'I'm going to kill you.'"
Mowry was eventually thrown off the van as it turned out of the parking lot.
"Just prior to arriving at Highway 53 they made a real sharp turn, and when they did, it threw him off the front of the van," Chief Moss said.
Mowry said he doesn't remember being thrown off. The next thing he knew he was waking up in Erlanger Hospital in Chattanooga, Tenn. That's when he learned what had happened.
"It was over some power tools is what I understand," he said. "I mean, they were going to kill somebody over some power tools."
Mowry said he saw a woman and two men inside the getaway van.
"They were laughing about it in the van, I could see them laughing, so they didn't care," he said.
Calhoun Police are asking anyone with information about the suspects to call the police department at 706-629-1234.
You can follow Kevin on Twitter @krowson11alive