JOHNSON COUNTY, Ind. (WISH) – Johnson County deputies arrested a man they say stole a car while a couple was working to fix a flat tire Friday night. The carjacking occurred shortly after 7:15 p.m. on U.S. 31 in the Amity area.
A deputy heading toward the scene alerted other officers when he observed the stolen vehicle pass him going approximately 91 mph in a 60 mph zone. Three deputies turned around and initiated a traffic stop and took the driver of the stolen vehicle into custody for questioning.
Officers continued south and found the victims in the 6100 block of South US 31. The female victim, Rhonda Challman, was bleeding from the right side of her head.
James Toon, of Franklin, told 24-Hour News 8 he was putting air in the flat tire while his girlfriend, Challman, held a flashlight from inside the vehicle to assist him.
Toon said he was airing up the tire when the vehicle started to roll forward and then pick up speed. Challman told police she was seated in the vehicle and noticed the car moving. She said a young man wearing a hooded sweatshirt was driving the vehicle.
“When I turned around, there was a kid there driving it, and I didn’t hear him getting in because of the noise [of the air compressor]. He started hitting my head against the door. I started grabbing the steering wheel to wreck us,” said Challman. “I slammed it into park and I opened the door and I jumped out.”
Challman told police the stranger began “slamming” her head against the window, breaking her glasses. She was taken to Johnson Memorial Hospital for treatment and was released.
“By the time I processed what was going on, the car had stopped and she was getting out coming toward me, yelling to make sure I was OK. She thought I’d gotten run over or something. By the time all that happened, I noticed that she had blood running down her face and I made sure she was OK and we got her away from the road as far as possible,” said Toon.
Challman has two children and three grandchildren. She said they were here motivation to get out of the car.
“I knew I wasn’t going to go with him. There wasn’t going to be nothing good from me staying in the car. So I particularly didn’t want to die that night, so I got out,” said Challman.
Challman and Toon are warning other drivers to be aware of their surroundings if they ever pull over because of car trouble.