Crime

Update: Woman gives eyewitness account of Gulfport carjacking

COURTESY MARIE GILL 
 Emergency personnel tend to the suspect in a carjacking on Friday in Gulfport after the driver of the stolen Volkswagen Jetta crashed, nearly hitting a house.
COURTESY MARIE GILL Emergency personnel tend to the suspect in a carjacking on Friday in Gulfport after the driver of the stolen Volkswagen Jetta crashed, nearly hitting a house.

GULFPORT -- A man behaving strangely carjacked a vehicle and caused several collisions in Orange Grove on Friday afternoon, according to police and an eyewitness.

Police Sgt. Damon McDaniel said officers responded to U.S. 49 and Parkwood Drive about 2:45 p.m. on a report of a man acting erratically in the road. The man had apparently gotten out of a car and lain in the road, McDaniel said.

The man later jumped onto the hood of a Volkswagen Jetta headed north on 49 and tried to get into the car through the sunroof, McDaniel said.

Area resident Marie Gill said she was at Keesler Federal Credit Union on U.S. 49 about 3 p.m. when her kids started yelling, "Look at that!"

The man was trying to get into a car, Gill said. He was riding on the Jetta's roof while the driver and her passenger tried to get away.

"He made them get out of the Jetta," Gill said of the man. "He left those girls standing on the side of the road."

Shortly after receiving the initial report of the man's behavior, McDaniel said, officers got word of an accident at U.S. 49 and O'Neal Road.

The Jetta hit a car at an intersection just south of the credit union, Gill said.

"I was behind him trying to get his tag number," Gill said. "I guess he saw me and he sped off."

Gill said the Jetta hit a white car that had two occupants, and she saw the car spin around.

The Jetta then hit a Lincoln, she said, and that car spun out.

The Jetta also spun around and almost hit a house near O'Neal Road, she said.

Gill said police arrived and put the man in handcuffs.

Traffic was backed up for miles, she said.

Police began diverting traffic away from 49 at O'Neal Road while emergency crews worked.

McDaniel said paramedics were called to assess injuries. The driver of a Nissan that was hit and the man who reportedly caused the collisions were taken to a local hospital. Their conditions were unknown Friday evening.

The investigation is ongoing and charges are pending the man's release from the hospital.

Anyone with information in the case or photos or videos of the incident is asked to call Gulfport police at 868-5959.

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