PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) – A Portland man is in the hospital recovering from serious injuries after he tried to stop a thief attempting to steal his car.
Collin Philips, 32, broke a bone in his neck, three of his vertebrae, his arm and severed a finger when he dove into his car Saturday evening.
“I’m feeling optimistic. I’m lucky to be alive, honestly,” Philips said.
Phillips said he was playing basketball with his family on the playground at Grout Elementary when he noticed something wasn’t quite right.
“I noticed a suspicious gentleman walking by my car,” Phillips said. The car window was down with the keys inside, said Philips.
“He started the car and was already turning the wheel and was taking off,” Philips said. “I don’t know what I was thinking – I honestly wasn’t – I just dove in.”
“I tried to move the gear shift and I broke that, and he turned the wheel and kept driving,” Philips added. “We hit a tree – I think I hit the tree – and he ran me straight against the concrete wall.”
Portland Police said the suspect then hit another man before crashing into a parked car and fleeing on foot.
“I’ll never forget his face,” Philips said. “I looked up and I could see him. I could see him stop and look at me before he proceeded to run off.”
“I didn’t think he was going to make it,” said Philips’ girlfriend, Jayda Turner. “That was the scariest image I’ve ever seen in my life.”
Turner is eight months pregnant with their son. The couple have four other children between them.
“I just ran,” Turner said. “I forgot I was pregnant for a minute and I just ran to him.”
“If she wasn’t there helping me and walking me through it and telling me breathe and wait for the ambulance and to stay conscious, I don’t think I would be here right now,” Philips said of Turner.
Philips was taken to the hospital by ambulance.
Police said they caught the suspect on the rooftop of a nearby carport.
The suspect, 30-year-old Justin Jeffries, was arrested. Jefferies faces assault charges.
According to court documents, Jeffries admitted to taking the car but told officers he stole it because people were chasing him and that he “blacked out and when he came to the car was stuck.”
Although Philips said he’s lucky to be alive, he also has a message for the suspect.
“That one decision of his has changed my life forever,” Philips said. “I’ll probably never do things the same again. I’ll never walk again the same, or work again the same, or pick up my children again the same – just based on one person’s decision – that’s not fair.”
The other man hit by the car is expected to be OK.
Portland Police are seeking additional information and witnesses. Anyone who can help is asked to call the bureau.
Philips’ family is raising money to help with expenses, as he can’t work and is the sole provider for the soon-to-be family of seven.
Anyone who wishes to help can find more information here.
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