SHAKER HEIGHTS, OH (WOIO) - A woman was the victim of a "bump and run" carjacking in Shaker Heights on Wednesday night, less than six months after a series of similar incidents in the city.
The victim spoke to Cleveland 19, and while she didn't want her identity revealed, she did want to share her story so others are on alert.
The woman said she was sitting in her 2016 blue Ford Escape at a stop light at the intersection of Coventry and Shaker Boulevard at about 8:30 p.m.
She said there was a car in front of her, when an SUV hit her Escape on the back bumper.
"I got out of my car to see if there was any damage to my bumper and one of the people in the car that hit me was already standing outside by the car. He grabbed the keys out of my hand and jumped into my car and drove away with it, and then the car that he had gotten out of followed him," the victim said. "It all happened so fast that I really didn't have that much time to be scared cause I didn't it was more shock that it has just happened."
She said she was aware of the string of carjackings in Shaker Heights in December, but didn't realize what was happening when it did.
"Hindsight is 20/20, I remember my husband telling me like six months ago how this had happened to people before but in the moment when it actually happened, when the car rear ends you, I didn't think maybe that's this situation I still just got out of the car," she said.
Shaker Heights police told Cleveland 19 that they did make several arrests after the series of incidents in December, and, so far, Wednesday's incident seems like an isolated one.
The victim in Wednesday's carjacking told Cleveland 19 that she went up to a Good Samaritan in the car in front of her, and he called police.
"There was a very nice young man, I don't know his name I didn't get his name, who rolled down his window as I just asked if he could help me and he called the police," she said.
The victim said that Shaker Police officers were on the scene within minutes. Police said the Good Samaritan did everything they hope bystanders do in a situation like that one.
The victim said she's grateful the situation wasn't worse and that she wasn't injured. She also had this advice to offer.
"If you're alone and especially if it's at night and there aren't a lot of other people around, if someone rear ends you, maybe put your flashers on and drive to the nearest public place before you talk to [the other driver].
Hopefully they follow you. There's a chance that they'll just leave, but it's better to explain to your insurance company why you didn't get their insurance information than to put yourself at risk," she said.
Shaker Heights police released some tips on what you should do if you're in a similar situation.
- Always know your location when driving.
- Don't be in a rush to get out of your car when something happens.
- Check your rearview mirror to see who's behind you. If a passenger gets out instead the driver, or multiple people get out of the car, this may be a warning sign.
- If something seems irregular – stay in your vehicle, lock your doors, and call 911.
- If you don't feel safe -- leave the scene and call 911 safely from another location.
- Drive to a populated area, and if safely possible, advise police of the vehicle description and license plate.
- Signal the other driver to follow you, and do not pull over unless many people (witnesses) are in the area.
- Drive to the nearest police station, fire station, patrol car, or well-lit gas station or shopping area.
- If you get out of the car to exchange information, assess damage, take your wallet, purse, cell phone, and stay alert. Consider taking your keys with you when exiting the car.
- If weapons are present in a confrontation, run from the vehicle and contact police. Never allow a potential auto theft to elevate to a hostage situation. Personal safety is more valuable than the car or personal property.