An 81-year-old Edmonton woman is in hospital in serious condition after trying to recover her stolen car this morning.

The woman's Nissan Sentra was apparently stolen around 5:15 a.m.Tuesday, said police.

Fifteen minutes later, the woman, accompanied by a man described by a witness as her son, saw her car at the drive-through of the McDonald's restaurant on 82nd Street and 127th Avenue.

The witness, who would only give her name as Cheri in fear for her safety, said the man was driving with his mother in a larger car when he pulled up to the car and got out.

At first she thought it was a case of road rage, she said.

"He started punching him and trying to get him out of the car," the witness said.

When she drove closer to the altercation, the smaller car was trying to back up, hitting one or two other vehicles in the parking lot.

At that point "an elderly lady ... said 'Box him in. That's my car. He stole my car,'" she said.

The driver continued trying to escape the parking lot. 

"The son was still whaling on him and before I even had a chance to think, he hit my vehicle," she said. "He backed up again and her son was hanging onto the car while it was moving, beating on him."

The driver sped away.

"I was going to follow him, but then I looked and there was a body on the ground."

She said the woman was not doing well when the ambulance came.

"I know for a fact she was run right over because ... you could see the tire marks across her tummy."

Police later found the empty vehicle about six blocks away, said police spokesperson Chad Orydzuk.

There has been no arrest in incident, he said.