KNOXVILLE (WATE) – A Knoxville man has been arrested after police say he tried to carjack an elderly woman and her grandson, and then ran from police – forcing them to use a Taser.
Steven R. Davis, 28, is charged with resisting arrest, two counts of aggravated assault, carjacking and auto theft. He was already wanted on six outstanding warrants and had three pending hit and run charges.
Police were initially called to the Walmart gas pumps off Chapman Highway for a medical call. They found a man passed out behind the wheel of a U-Haul truck. Emergency responders determined it was a possible overdose and requested police.
When officers arrived the man, later identified as Davis, became violent and ran off. He ran across Chapman Highway and into the parking lot of a gas station before jumping into the driver’s seat of a bystander’s vehicle at the gas pump and tried to drive off. Once he realized the car wasn’t running, he then ran to the H&R Block across the street and tried to carjack a Toyota Corolla with an elderly woman and her 11-year-old grandson inside.
Adel Agounine works at U.S. Fuel Plus and was driving down Chapman Highway during this police chase.
“I was at the red light near the Pizza Hut and I saw the police running up to her, a suspect with a dog. And I saw him coming through our gas station here,” he said.
Officers watched Davis force his way into the passenger side of the vehicle. As an officer caught up with the vehicle, the suspect climbed over the 11-year-old and was trying to force the driver out. Officers, including K-9 Loki, struggled with the suspect. Police say Agounine saw the officers struggling and blocked the Corolla in.
“I saw the suspect jump on that lady’s car, trying to hijack the car with her grandson inside the car. They tried to fight with him, the police, so I just got behind and parked my car to block him out so he would not keep. He was pushing on the gas to get the officer out of the car,” added Agounine.
The suspect managed to put the car in reverse and rammed the Good Samaritan’s vehicle.
“I like to help. No matter what is the situation, I like to help,” said Agounine.
After hitting Davis multiple times with a Taser and a physical struggle, officers were able to gain control and let the victims get out of the car. The suspect appeared to either be intoxicated or under the influence of drugs.
The elderly woman had minor injuries and was treated at the scene. The 11-year-old was not hurt.
“No matter about my car, I don’t care. The car is material, you can replace that,” said Agounine.
His coworkers were watching security footage Wednesday from the gas station to see if the altercation was caught on camera. Coworker Emjay Pandaher says she’s thankful everyone is okay.
“This was one of those situations that ended up having a really good ending,” said Pandaher.
Employees at U.S. Fuel Plus say they’re proud of their hero who moved fast to help police.
“This is what we should do, but unfortunately not many of us would’ve stepped up to the plate at the end of the day. But what he did was absolutely courageous,” said Pandaher.
On Wednesday we spoke with family members of the grandmother, who say she and her grandson are doing okay but they’re still shaken up.
Police say prior to this incident, Davis was already wanted for ramming three vehicles and a bridge abutment earlier Tuesday on Loves Creek near Rutledge Pike in the same U-Haul truck.
Knoxville police say to keep your car doors locked and blow your horn to draw attention to a carjacking attempt. If you’re sitting still and you do not see a gun, drive away, but only if it is safe to do so.
At night, park in a well lit area close to the door of your destination. If a carjacker makes it into your car, don’t resist, get out. Police say you can replace the car, not your life.
Police also want to make it clear the victims in this case did not do anything wrong, it happened so quickly there was no time to react. Police say carjacking is rare in Knoxville.