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.
MORE: Crazed Knifeman Moves to Stab Woman Hostage ― Sniper Cracks Him in Face With Impossible Shot
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 recalled getting out of the vehicle and freeing Puckett from the wreckage. He said he saw Roberts lying facedown on the ground nearby, twitching and saying “ow.”
He said he nudged Roberts’ shoulder with his shoe, saying: “Got you. You’re not going nowhere. The police are coming.”
“I thought he was alive,” Johnson said. “I didn’t think he was going to die.”
Johnson, who has 40 prior arrests of his own, said he had not been drinking at the time.
Korey Johnson was charged with murder for running over Donald Roberts
However, Roberts was quickly pronounced dead at a nearby hospital. Johnson learned the news at the police precinct, where he was charged with murder and manslaughter for the killing.
On Tuesday, he pleaded not guilty to the charges of vigilante justice.
MORE: Trump Official Gets His Job Back After Being Wrongfully Accused of Anti-Semitism
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.”