Theft of pizza delivery vehicle ends in crash

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A tow truck operator prepares to remove a car that was the subject of an attempted theft near Packard and Arch Streets. Buy this photo

By Ian Dillingham, Daily Staff Reporter
Published September 29, 2013

Pizza delivery has never been so dramatic.

Sunday evening at about 7 p.m., a man attempted to steal the vehicle of a Cottage Inn Pizza delivery driver on the 700 block of Packard Street, just east of the State Street intersection. Just seconds after the vehicle was stolen, the suspect allegedly caused a collision, which resulted in his arrest.

The suspect — who Ann Arbor Police say was under the influence of drugs — stole the vehicle that had been left unlocked outside of an apartment complex during a delivery. After taking the vehicle, the suspect collided with an oncoming vehicle traveling east on Packard Street. That vehicle, a Jeep Wrangler, was carrying two passengers, who both left the scene uninjured.

The delivery driver, Bryan, who asked to be identified by his first name only, said the suspect “looked like a kid behind the wheel for the first time.” The suspect pulled onto Packard at a high rate of speed and drove in an erratic fashion, Bryan said. He added that the man seemed to be driving on the wrong side of the road.

Ann Arbor Police Sgt. Amy Metzer confirmed the suspect was to the left of the center of the road. The Jeep “actually tried to go up on the curb to avoid a collision,” before the suspect “slammed into him (and) pushed him up on the curb further,” Metzer said.

The Jeep came to rest on the sidewalk on the south side of Packard, she said.

Witnesses at the scene said after the collision, the suspect appeared to exit the vehicle and proceed on foot eastbound. A passerby brought the suspect back to the scene several minutes later, where he was placed in custody, witnesses said.

Metzer said the suspect was on scene by the time the first officers arrived and couldn’t comment on whether the suspect initially attempted to flee the scene.

The suspect was arrested and transported by ambulance to University Hospital for treatment for drugs and minor injuries from the crash. Metzger could not confirm what drugs the suspect had taken.

The suspect did not have a wallet or phone in his possession at the time of arrest, prompting police to conduct a search east of the scene after the incident, Metzer said.

A pedestrian standing with a bicycle on the south side of Packard Street was also involved in the incident. The man, who had stopped on the sidewalk, was struck by one of the vehicles during the collision, but was largely unharmed, Metzer said.

“He was sitting here getting directions and saw the whole thing coming and just dropped his bike and stepped away,” Metzer said.

Police could not confirm the suspect’s condition Sunday evening.