A New York auto mechanic on Sunday caught a thief breaking into his Jeep and ran him down in a righteous fury.
Korey Johnson, a 41-year-old father of three daughters, told the New York Daily News that it was about 5:30 a.m. when he and a friend, Renee Puckett, caught Donald Roberts, 47, rummaging around in the SUV in Brooklyn. Two windows had been broken, he said in an interview from the Brooklyn House of Detention.
When he confronted Roberts, the career petty criminal, who had 38 lifetime arrests, attacked him with a screwdriver from the vehicle, scratching him and slashing Puckett before speeding off on a bicycle, Johnson said.
According to Johnson, he and Puckett jumped in the Jeep Grand Cherokee and chased Roberts into oncoming traffic. When Johnson hit the gas, he said, the Jeep started pulling left and he was unable to stop.
In a crash captured by surveillance cameras, Johnson’s vehicle pinned Roberts and his bike against a row of parked cars. A passing semi truck then slammed into the Jeep, flipping it onto its side.
Johnson told the Daily News that Roberts’ death was an accident. He said the man had been trying to steal parts, and may have caused his own death by fiddling with the steering and leaving a cup holder lodged under the brake pedal.
During a Wednesday hearing, Johnson also said: “All I wanted to do was catch him, tackle him, not let him get away … I just wanted to get close to him.”