The victim of a violent carjacking and police chase on the Gold Coast spoke exclusively to FOX 32 about how he put his life on the line.
Andrew Franco and his coworkers were loading shopping bags into the back of his SUV when the carjacking occurred. Franco was badly bruised while trying to stop the suspect and getting dragged down the street for about 15 feet.
The 30-year-old doesn't consider himself brave, but was trying to protect others around him.
“It is frightening and traumatic, but definitely going to take some time and work through it,” he said.
Franco is now recovering at home, with his arm, leg and right side of his body badly bruised from being dragged on the ground, trying to stop the carjacker.
“It was more a state of shock because I don’t think he expected me to open the door,” Franco said.
The carjacking happened Tuesday night in the Gold Coast. Franco's Mercedes-Benz is now crunched after police say a 17-year-old suspect slammed it into several parked cars and even struck two other people who suffered minor injuries.
Franco said he was behind the SUV, doors shut, with the key fob in his pocket.
“As long as you are in the vicinity, you can press it and it will turn on so he might have known how to do it because he turned it on right away,” Franco said.
Concerned for two female coworkers behind the SUV, Franco tried to stop the driver.
“I actually opened the door and we were face to face and took a swipe at him to try to pull him out,” Franco said.
But he failed.
“Once he put it into drive I was dragged because my wristwatch got hooked on the door handle,” he said.
Franco fell to the street and the 17-year-old drove off. After a joyride through downtown, Chicago police eventually caught the teen driver in Grant Park.
Franco said it's hard to believe it happened, but there's nothing he could've done differently.
“It’s random so you can’t really protect yourself,” Franco said.
In an effort to combat the carjackings, the Chicago Police Department is expanding its use of technology which scans license plates, looking for stolen vehicles. The technology will go into 200 more squad cars.