BELLEVILLE, N.J. (CBSNewYork) – A man was seriously hurt after jumping on the hood of his SUV while it was being stolen, Belleville Police said.
The carjackers just kept on going and took the owner, 59-year-old James Dillon, on a dangerous ride for nearly a mile.
Surveillance video from a neighbor’s doorbell camera caught part of the wild ride. In the video, you can first hear yelling, and then the SUV speeds by, Dillon clinging to the roof, legs flailing and screaming.
It happened shortly after 7 a.m. Tuesday at a home on High Street near Holmes Street.
Two men broke into a home through an unlocked back door and stole the keys to a 2015 Silver Lincoln SUV, police said.
Police say Dillon’s wife heard them and alerted her husband.
“The couple came outside. There were two males sitting in their vehicle, trying to start it. It’s a push button start, so they were having a little difficulty. The wife put a garbage can behind the car to try to prevent them, while the husband tried to remove them from car,” Belleville Police Lt. John McAloon said.
But they managed to start the vehicle, and that’s when Dillon jumped on top.
Police say he held on for more than a mile as the suspects drove toward Bridge Street, where he was flung off the vehicle.
He was rushed to University Hospital in critical condition.
Dillon’s 20-year-old daughter, Angela, told CBS2’s Meg Baker she’s not surprised at all her dad, a truck driver, would do anything to protect her and their home.
“I woke up to my mom screaming, and by the time I got out here, they had already left with my dad on the hood of the car,” she said.
Angela Dillon says her father has head trauma, a broken collarbone and broken ribs.
“He’s always just been very protective, so the fact that he went to the extent of going on the hood of the car is… That’s my dad,” she said.
Police say they would not recommend jumping on top of a car like Dillon did to stop carjackers, but they will not criticize him for protecting his property.
Two suspects, ages 17 and 18, were taken into custody Tuesday afternoon by Newark Police.
Earlier, around 4:30 a.m., a similar incident happened nearby on Prospect Street. Surveillance video shows a suspect walk by, then a few minutes later, a different SUV is stolen from a driveway, hitting other cars on its way out.
“They also went inside my house and they stole all the keys for my other vehicles, too. Right now, we’re just very scared about the situation. This block was very quiet, very nice neighborhood, and now we gotta be very alert,” car owner Veronica Jerez said.
“They just stole his SUV. And on his way out of the driveway, they hit my car,” neighbor Max Figueroa said. “They hit my car, my next door neighbor on the left, across the street a car also.”
Police are investigating whether or not the teenagers arrested for stealing Dillon’s SUV are the same two suspects involved in the theft on Prospect Street.