CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) – Kary Ann Curtis was at a red light the intersection of Ballantyne Commons Parkway and Johnston Road when 26-year-old Tyler Harding barreled through and crashed into a car.
This was Harding’s third crash during a police chase that lasted more than an hour across south Charlotte, and it would not be his last.
Curtis got out of her SUV to check on a driver next to her and before she knew it she saw Harding driving away in her car.
Her keys were in her pocket, but he was still able to drive off in her keyless ignition car.
“I saw a person running behind me and I thought it was a first responder,” Curtis said.
Curtis had no idea about the police chase or the fact that the man running towards her was about to steal her car.
“I was just shocked,” she said. “I see this stuff on TV or movies, but I never thought I’d experience it. A gentleman in a car near me told me what was happening and offered to give me a ride.”
A man she says was named Michael drove her for a while, until he started running out of gas. That’s when she says he flagged down a police officer who drove her the rest of the way.
They finally pulled up to the South End intersection where Harding wrecked her car and police took him into custody.
“He was so disrespectful and had such disregard for human life,” she said.
Curtis says she believes Harding threw her belongings out of her window. She’s missing some of her medications, medical cards and her wallet.
Days later, she is traumatized.
“I am experiencing panic attacks when I get close to a red light,” she said. “I guess it just triggers the emotions of the things that happened.”
But she is still finding the good.
“I’m thankful it had the outcome it did because it could’ve been worse,” she said.
She says it will not deter her from stopping to help someone in the future.
“If I could’ve made a difference, that’s all I was trying to do,” she said. “If more people extended a helping hand every now and again maybe we’d have different outcomes.”
Curtis says she wants to thank the man named Michael who offered to give her a ride.
She also wants to commend police for their handling of this. She says while some criticize how long it went on, she believes it was a success because no one was seriously hurt.
Related: ‘My instinct’: Driver describes trying to stop suspect during chase
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