A vehicle theft took a strange turn in Orlando on Friday, when the accused thief sped off with the sport utility vehicle's owner clinging to its roof.
Val Jacques was playing chess at a Christian community center on Central Boulevard in Orlando on Friday afternoon, police say, when he saw a man climb into his sport utility vehicle. He'd left the keys in the ignition.
Jacques tried to open the door to the Mazda SUV, but the man locked it. Police say Jacques climbed on the roof, and the thief hit the gas.
Minutes later, police say the thief, later identified as Mazzard McMillian, blew through a red light at the intersection of Central Boulevard and Orange Blossom Trail, smashing into a pickup truck and sending Jacques flying.
An Orlando officer who happened to be stopped at the intersection saw the crash, noting in his report that he saw Jacques "in the air and it appeared he was thrown" from the Mazda.
When the officer approached to check on Jacques – who'd travelled about 100 feet from the SUV, he said – McMillian got out of the Mazda and took off.
Police say a witness, Clifford Colston, chased McMillian, who ran inside a business and took off his T-shirt. Colston spotted McMillian again when he left the store, chasing him this time to a warehouse on Church Street.
According to arresting documents, McMillian asked a man in the warehouse office for water, "because someone was trying to beat him up." Employees gave McMillian a T-shirt and a cap and asked him to leave, police said.
The new clothes didn't trick Colston, who police say yelled, "That's him!" Police caught McMillian soon after, at about 3:30 p.m. Friday.
In a report, police didn't reveal whether Jacques was injured in the crash. He told police that he was afraid for his life while he was clinging to the roof of his SUV, and he wanted to press charges.
McMillian was charged with attempted murder, robbery, grand theft and resisting an officer without violence. He was booked into Orange County Jail, where he remained Saturday.