Albany - A car thief running from police wrecked in Northwest Albany Thursday morning. The car was stolen after a woman left the keys in it at a store on West Gordon Avenue.
Police followed the suspect out Old Dawson Road where he ended up crashing into some woods and totaling the victim's car.
Catherine Kendrick's day started out on a very bad note. "I'm just kind of blown away right now."
Early Thursday morning, she stopped by Neighborhood Grocery on West Gordon for her daily dose of orange juice. "I went in the store and I came out to get some more money and I must have left my keys in the seat or somewhere," she said, "but when I realized I didn't have them, I came back out, the car was pulling off."
Her car, pulling out of the drive. Another customer watched as the thief slipped behind the wheel and snagged her ride. "I said did you see which way he went?' And he said 'yeah. Come on we can call the cops on the way and keep our eye on him.'"
While trailing the suspect, driving her Lexus, she called 911, that's when the cops took over. "I guess once he realized it," she said, "the chase was on."
As the suspect was speeding along Old Dawson Road, he apparently lost control. This is all that remains of Kendrick's car. "I almost passed out, but it will be all right."
The suspect, whose name has not been released, was taken to the hospital with head injuries.
Like Catherine Kendrick, many of you may leave your keys in your car as you run a quick errand. A word of caution: Don't.
It's not uncommon in this South Georgia heat to see unattended cars running with keys in the ignition. But the few seconds it may save you will be pointless if your car is stolen.
Lt. Kenn Singleton said, "The key thing is we don't want them to leave that vehicle unattended. We want them to take that time out to go ahead and secure the vehicle, take the keys out of the ignition, lock the doors and go handle their business and then come back out and start all over."
In addition to it being a bad idea, leaving your keys in an unattended vehicle is also against the law. APD has started issuing citations for the violation.