LIBERTYVILLE, Ill. – A pregnant mother was beaten, carjacked, and run over in her own driveway in Illinois on Thursday, as her Volkswagen Atlas was stolen with her 2-year-old son still in the back seat, CBS Chicago reported.
Sadly, the German carmaker refused to cooperate with law enforcement authorities to locate the stolen vehicle with the toddler trapped in the back until they were given an unpaid fee for use of the vehicle’s tracking device, the Lake County Sheriff’s Office said.
Volkswagen has since acknowledged a “serious breach of process” for the refusal to assist investigators, who said the foot-dragging led to a “delay” in their efforts to locate the child, who was eventually recovered without harm, according to the New York Post.
The Lake County Sheriff’s Office provided the following overview of the tense drama:
On February 23, 2023, at approximately 3:35 p.m., Lake County Sheriff’s Deputies responded to a residence in the 16000 block of Route 137, Unincorporated Libertyville, for a vehicular hijacking with a two-year-old child still inside the vehicle.
Preliminary investigation shows the 34-year-old victim just returned to her residence. She pulled into her driveway and brought one of her children inside. She came back to her car to retrieve her other child, her two-year-old son, when a white BMW (2000’s model, black bumper, and loud exhausted) pulled into her driveway, behind her car (she was driving a 2021 Volkswagen Atlas).
A man (described as being tall, thin, wearing a grey zip-up hooded sweatshirt, and a light green facemask) exited the passenger side of the BMW and struggled to get into the victim’s Volkswagen, as she tried to keep her two-year-old son safe. The offender battered the woman, knocking her to the ground. He then stole her car with the child inside. He and the driver of the BMW fled from the scene. One of the drivers ran her over as they fled, causing serious injuries to her extremities. The victim was still able to call 911 and sheriff’s deputies immediately responded.
Knowing a child was inside the vehicle, sheriff’s detectives immediately responded to the scene and the general area to search for the Volkswagen.
A short time later, a person working at a business in the 2200 block of Lakeside Drive, Waukegan, called 911 to report they just saw two vehicles enter the parking lot, and the driver of one of the cars abandoned a small child. The drivers of both vehicles then fled. The 911 caller at the business rescued the child from the parking lot, before the child wandered onto the busy roadway. Waukegan Police Officers and sheriff’s deputies responded to the scene. Sheriff’s personnel confirmed the found child was the abducted child.
While searching for the stolen vehicle and endangered child, sheriff’s detectives immediately called Volkswagen Car-Net, in an attempt to track the vehicle. Unfortunately, there was a delay, as Volkswagen Car-Net would not track the vehicle with the abducted child until they received payment to reactivate the tracking device in the stolen Volkswagen.
Sheriff’s deputies located the stolen Volkswagen in a parking lot near Casmir Pulaski and Route 43. The vehicle will be thoroughly processed for trace evidence.
The woman who was battered and run over remains at an area hospital in serious, but stable condition.
Volkswagen issued a statement on Friday, apparently trying to shift a majority of the blame to another company, the New York Post reported.
“Volkswagen has a procedure in place with a third-party provider for Car-Net Support Services involving emergency requests from law enforcement,” a spokesperson told NBC.
“They have executed this process successfully in previous incidents. Unfortunately, in this instance, there was a serious breach of the process. We are addressing the situation with the parties involved.”
Meanwhile, detectives continue looking for the BMW, which was stolen in the past week from a car dealership in Waukegan. Authorities are asking anyone with information to contact the Lake County Sheriff’s Criminal Investigations Division at 847-377-4000 or contact Lake County CrimeStoppers at: www.lakecountycrimestoppers.org