OCALA, Fla. – Police in Florida were in a vehicle pursuit involving a suspect recklessly driving a stolen car. The car chase ended when the crook crashed, but then bailed on foot before trying to carjack a pregnant woman in the drive-thru line at a local Starbucks. An Army veteran who was also in line, witnessed the encounter and jumped into action to help the victim and assist police catch the man, according to reports.
Shane Spicer was in the drive-thru line waiting for his morning coffee in Ocala, Florida, when he received a jolt of a different kind as he saw a suspect fleeing from officers on foot following the crash, Fox 35 Orlando reported.
The desperado was described as a career criminal who reportedly broke into someone’s home and stole their car. He was chased by police before he crashed in a busy intersection. Following the collision he bailed from the stolen vehicle and ran toward Starbucks.
“A white male bailing! He’s now at Starbucks!” one officer is heard broadcasting in recently released dashcam video posted by the news outlet.
The fleeing suspect ran toward a woman in her vehicle and tried to carjack her. Seeing the crime take place, Spicer ran up to the passenger side of the victim vehicle and interceded on behalf of the woman, who turned out to be pregnant. The suspect then continued to flee on foot and Spicer ran him down and briefly held onto him until officers quickly arrived.
“Just getting started with the day, had maybe been awake 20 to 25 minutes. I live about a mile from that Starbucks,” Spicer said.
“Sprinting up to Starbucks, and he didn’t look like a Starbucks coffee drinker. Then he yanked the girl out of the car,” he said.
Spicer, an Army vet whose girlfriend and young daughter were in his car, prevented the violent criminal from further traumatizing the woman or taking her car. It was “just kind of an instinctive — kind of reactionary thing.”
“I’m going to get you, buddy!” Spicer said he shouted at the would-be carjacker. “You’re not going anywhere now! You crossed the line!”
According to police bodycam footage, Spicer and another unidentified citizen chased after the man — later identified as Michael Prouty — caught him and briefly held him until officers arrived, the New York Post reported.
Prouty was charged with several crimes in multiple counties, which include home invasion, battery on a person over 65, grand theft of a vehicle, fleeing and eluding, attempted carjacking and resisting arrest, according to WKMG.
“We are proud of these two citizens for their heroic action, for helping our officers make the arrest, and for keeping our community safe.” Ocala Police Chief Mike Balken said in a statement.
The pregnant woman was understandably rattled by the encounter, but is expected to be all right. She later reached out to Spicer to thank him for his actions, WSVN reported.
Concluding his remarks, Spicer said, “I feel like if you’ve got the ability to watch out for someone, that you should. I would just hope that someone would do the same for my family.”