A man accused of stealing a car in the East Bay was taken into custody Thursday after a police pursuit and dramatic carjacking.
The metallic red Chevrolet Equinox was reported stolen in Alameda, police said. It was spotted in Lafayette, so police began to pursue the driver who headed to Danville. Officers stopped chasing the suspect when conditions became dangerous, they said. He was then monitored by air.
The man, speeding and driving on the wrong side of the road, headed to Hayward. There, at a traffic light, he proceeded to bail out of his SUV and jump into a white convertible.
Within 90 seconds, the driver of the drop-top BMW, identified later only as Nathan, stopped on the side of the road, while the suspect yelled at him. Hayward police had arrived on the scene and aimed their guns at the pair.
The suspect, who had cornrows and was dressed in jeans, a white T-shirt and a black hoodie, walked backwards with his hands in the air and was handcuffed. He was last seen being loaded into the back of a police car.
Nathan was taken into custody briefly, but was then freed and seen sitting on the road amid a heavy police presence.
Police said that when the man leaped into the BMW, they didn't know if the two were friends. It was only after the car was pulled over that officers learned that Nathan was a carjacking victim.
Nathan told NBC Bay Area that he works at a car dealership and was running an errand in his employee's convertible when he countered the suspect, who struck the BMW with his SUV, then jumped in it and ordered Nathan to drive.
"He was aggressive, screaming," he said.
The man wasn't carrying a gun or knife, but Nathan said his behavior was threatening. "He tried to fight me physically," he recalled.
The suspect was arrested quickly so "I don't know what happened to him after that," Nathan said.
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