Wow, someone really likes their Mustang!
Wild in the streets
Man takes the ride of his life clinging to rear of stolen car
THE FLINT JOURNAL FIRST EDITION
Friday, January 07, 2005
By Bryn Mickle and Kim Crawford
JOURNAL STAFF WRITERS
FLINT - Tony J. Young wasn't about to lose his car again.
His 2003 Ford Mustang Coupe had been stolen before, so when it happened again Thursday morning, Young grabbed the rear spoiler and held on as the thief hit the gas.
Clutching the back of his dark gray Mustang, Young managed to call 911 on his cellphone as the car raced down snowy Flint streets.
"I wasn't letting it go again," said Young, 35, of Swartz Creek. "That car's my pride and joy."
Mustang love, however, nearly got Young killed.
His Mustang hit speeds of 80 mph across Flint, including stretches of I-475 and I-69. As the car went faster and faster and swerved back and forth, Young said he had no choice but to hold on.
At one point, a city 911 operator suggested he let go as soon as he had the chance.
"Sir, you can get another vehicle," said dispatcher Holly Wilson.
"No, I'd probably be dead," Young told her, according to a tape of the 911 call.
Wilson later said, "After 20 minutes, I was thinking, 'Oh my God, is he going to make it?'"
Aimee Johnson, who was dispatching the information taken by Wilson and broadcasting it to Flint's patrol cars, said Young's 911 call as he hung onto the speeding car is "the most unusual call I've ever had in seven years."
Young told the Journal he never thought he would survive.
"I figured I was a goner," he said.
Everything started early Thursday when Young awoke at a home near Lewis Street and realized a woman there had stolen the keys to his Mustang.
With no car, he asked a friend to give him a ride to a gas station about 7 a.m. On the way, he saw his Mustang stopped at a stop sign on Olive Avenue.
"I jumped out and told (the driver) to get out," said Young.
Instead, the thief took off, with Young hanging on the back for the next 20 minutes. Laying with his back on the rear windshield and one hand on the spoiler, Young called 911.
Shouting out street names as they whizzed by, Young waited for police to join the chase. At one point, Young told the dispatcher he had just passed downtown's Flint police station.
"C'mon cops," he pleaded. "Please, please."
Later, Young begged "Oh, man, please get me help. He's gonna kill me."
At one point, Young said he was skiing off the back of the Mustang with his knees bent as his feet skimmed across the snow-covered pavement.
Flint police caught up with the car and gave chase, along with Genesee County Sheriff's deputies and state troopers. At one point, the Mustang shot past officers taking an accident report.
With the car fishtailing on the icy road, things got worse for Young when the Mustang headed north on I-475.
"Oh my God, we're dead," Young told 911.
He lost the cellphone when the Mustang got off onto the service drive, but Young managed to hang on.
The dispatchers and operators were anxious when Young's cell phone cut out.
"We were all thinking, 'Is he dead? Did he fall off?" said Paula Davidson, a 911 dispatcher-operator.
"It got scary toward the end," Young said, adding that he believes the thief just missed crashing into at least five cars.
"The people on the expressway were tripping," he said.
The chase ended when the thief stopped the car and fled on foot. He was caught about 10 minutes later near Kearsley Park.
Flint police could not be reached for comment on the incident Thursday afternoon.
Amazingly, Young escaped the ordeal unhurt - especially surprising since he recently had back surgery and is on worker's compensation.
Young dismissed suggestions that it would have been smarter to just let the thief have the car.
Two months ago, the Mustang was stolen in Fenton, he said, and thieves stripped it of everything from the chrome rims to the $3,500 stereo.
"If I let go, I figured the car was gone for good," he said. "I would do it again if I had to."
His mother, Diane Gilmore of Swartz Creek, said she thinks Young would be better off with a different car.
"He's got to get rid of that sports car. Everybody wants it," she said.