Driver thwarts carjacking, drags would-be thief down street

A carjacker got more than he bargained for when he tried to force a driver, stopped at a red light on Grandview Highway in Vancouver, to hand over her vehicle.

Instead of handing over car, woman hits the gas and shakes off assailant

Driver Susan Mumford hit the gas and dragged away carjacker 2:31

A driver who followed her instincts thwarted a carjacking in Vancouver Sunday evening.

Susan Mumford had been driving along Grandview Highway when she stopped at a red light at Bentall Street, where a man wearing a balaclava approached her vehicle, opened the driver's side door and demanded she get out.

Mumford's vehicle eventually collided with a taxi, but she's not sure exactly how it happened. (CBC)

Instead of handing over her car, Mumford hit the gas.

"I decided to gun the accelerator and dragged him a little bit. He got out, eventually. He fell off the car as I was taking off," she said.

Mumford's vehicle eventually collided with a taxi, but she's not sure exactly how it happened.

"It went really quick. I was more concerned about getting the guy out of my car," she said.

According to police, the man then tried unsuccessfully to commandeer the battered taxi. When he failed on that front, he threw himself on the hood of an SUV and ordered the driver to flee the scene, but an off-duty police officer held the man until uniformed officers arrived.

Giovanni Campbell, 36, of Vancouver, faces five charges including robbery and assault with a weapon. He is well-known to police.

Mumford said she didn't have time to be frightened, but said she had a bit of an "adrenaline rush." (CBC)

No one badly injured

Mumford said she didn't have time to be frightened, but said she had a bit of an "adrenaline rush."

"It was exciting, sort of," she said.

She doesn't know if she made the right choice, but, as far as she knows, no one got really hurt.

"I think that everything turned out OK," she said.

"I'm afraid that maybe if I would have stopped and let him do what he wanted, maybe there might have been more damage, possibly.

Mumford said that from now on, she'll make a habit of locking her car doors when she's in the vehicle.

Police: Keep windows up, doors locked

Police said the best defence against a carjacking is to drive with your windows up and doors locked.

If a carjacker gains access to your car, don't fight back, unless your child is in the back seat. Police said it's better to lose the car than lose your life.

"In this case this woman, when she was approached, tried to drive away, which is the right thing to do," said Vancouver police Sgt. Randy Fincham.

"The collision damage is repairable and replaceable. Fortunately this woman wasn't hurt," he added.

Carjacking is rare in Canada, but the violent crime is on the rise in the United States, where the objective of thieves is to obtain the keys or key fobs of luxury vehicles that are otherwise difficult to steal or sell.

MAP: Some recent carjackings in Metro Vancouver

With files from the CBC's Natalie Clancy