Former Maxwell man thwarts carjacking attempt in Chico
A former Maxwell man is being called a hero after thwarting a carjacking attempt of an 86-year-old woman in Chico.
Alex Swain, 22, of Berry Creek, was arraigned on Thursday on felony elder abuse, attempted carjacking and burglary in connection with the incident, which occurred around 10:45 a.m. in the parking lot of McDonald's restaurant on Connors Avenue on Nov. 30.
Sgt. Curtis Prosise of the Chico Police Department reported Swain was so high on drugs at the time of his arrest that they were not able to interview him.
Swain had to be hospitalized under police supervision until he was able to be booked into jail, Prosise said.
Witnesses at McDonald's said the woman could have been badly hurt or lost her car, purse and other possessions if not for the intervention of David Stephens, 70, of Chico.
Stephens said it didn't take but a second for him to register what was happening when he heard the woman scream for help.
He and the woman are friends, as both are members of a group who meet at McDonald's in the morning.
Stephens said he was outside the restaurant talking with another friend when Swain reportedly approached the elderly woman at her car.
Swain managed to get her purse and the vehicle's keys away from her, pushed her aside and got inside the car, police said.
Stephens said he rushed to the vehicle and managed the get the car door open just enough to reach inside and grab the man by the collar of his jacket.
"I just reached in and yanked him out of the car," Stephens said. "After I pulled him out, he fell to the ground and managed to slip out of his jacket."
Stephens said it was probably a good thing he was just left standing with Swain's coat, otherwise he might have "worked the kid over."
Police said Swain got up and immediately ran away, and was followed by two others from Stephens' group.
Swain ran south until he approached a 24-year-old female near the intersection of White Avenue and Arroyo Way and tried to take her car, Prosise said.
When his pursuers approached him, Swain reportedly continued some yards and emerged on Rio Lindo Avenue, where police said he broke the window of a parked vehicle in an apparent attempt to steal it.
Swain was unsuccessful in the theft, Prosise said, and he continued running south, where police caught up to him in the 200 block of Cohasset Road.
After his arrest, Prosise said Swain appeared to be under the influence of a controlled substance and was combative with police.
He was so incoherent that he had to be taken to the hospital, where he remained under constant police supervision until he was booked into the Butte County Jail, Prosise said.
The two victims were very shaken by the incident, police said, but were otherwise uninjured.
CONTACT Susan Meeker at 934-6800 or firstname.lastname@example.org.