A Navajo Nation police car was stolen by a hitchhiker last Wednesday, a witness said.
Police declined to comment on the incident.
Michelle Smiley said she and her husband Marwin Smiley, both from Navajo, New Mexico, saw the incident on Navajo Route 12, in Goat Springs, Arizona, which is south of Fort Defiance, a little after 5 p.m.
Smiley said they were driving to Window Rock to take care of some business when they came upon what appeared to be an accident.
“Traffic slowed down and we saw an accident,” said Smiley.
“There was an SUV, a tow truck and the police car parked off the shoulder of the highway.” The police vehicle had its driver-side door open, according to Smiley.
Around the same time, Smiley said, they saw two hitchhikers walking on the opposite side of the highway, headed towards Fort Defiance.
Smiley said that as they got closer, they noticed one of the hitchhikers crossing the highway towards the scene of the accident. Smiley said they didn’t think anything of it until the man suddenly jumped into the police car, quickly backed it up and swerved into oncoming traffic, making a U-turn and nearly running over the other hitchhiker he was walking with.
The driver then picked up his companion and began racing towards Fort Defiance, she recalled. “I was in total shock … At first I thought it was the cop, then it clicked in my head that it was not,” Smiley recalled. “It happened so quickly. When we passed him he was already driving towards Fort. When he stole the vehicle, the (emergency) lights were still on.”