An attempted carjacking case in Central Florida could have gone a very different way if the intended victims had not fought back. But they did, valiantly.
According to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office, a hit-and-run suspect attempted to carjack four separate drivers early Friday morning, and failed each time.
Deputies said the suspect, 32-year-old Christopher Hendrix, fled a crash he was involved in at about 7:45 a.m. on Interstate 4.
Calls then began flooding 911 with different reports of Hendrix around Lake Alfred, trying to jump into and steal different people’s cars.
During the first attempted carjacking, Hendrix ran up to a Chevy Colorado parked at the pumps of a Marathon gas station and tried to get inside.
The woman who was pumping gas sprayed Hendrix from the hose, scaring him away from her car, the sheriff’s office said.
The suspect then jumped into another victim’s Town and Country minivan parked nearby. The owner happened to be standing outside the store and saw everything go down.
“That victim, a concealed weapons permit holder, drew his handgun and pointed it at the suspect and demanded he get out,” said the police report.
Hendrix again took off running, police say. He head back toward the highway, jumping off the side of the overpass onto westbound I-4, causing a box truck driver to slam on the brakes to avoid hitting him and getting rear-ended in the process.
A passing driver of a green Chevy pickup truck pulled over onto the shoulder to help, at which time Hendrix attempted to get into the back seat of the latest car. But the doors were locked.
Hendrix then ran across I-4 to the other shoulder, and hopped into the passenger seat of a red Chevy Equinox whose driver had also stopped to help. That quick thinking driver took the keys out of his ignition and jumped out of the car.
Polk County deputies who had just responded to the rear-end crash were able to snag the suspect at the scene. When placed into the back of a patrol car, Hendrix reportedly kicked out the rear window and attempted to escape, but again failed.
“We take Christopher Hendrix into custody and we put Christopher Hendrix in handcuffs in the back of our car. He is not pleased. Christopher Hendrix tries to escape. He kicks the back windows out of the patrol car in an effort to escape. Not only was he going to escape, he was going to steal our handcuffs, too. We didn’t appreciate that very much,” said Sheriff Grady Judd, adding he was proud of the individuals who thwarted Hendrix during his crime spree. “This violent, convicted felon was bound and determined to forcibly steal a car this morning, but our citizens said, not today.’”
The 32-year-old, who has a vast criminal history, is being charged with various counts including carjacking, grand theft auto, occupied burglary and criminal mischief. He remains at the Polk County Jail.