Man says carjacker forced him to drive in police chase

by: Tony Thomas Updated:

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SNELLVILLE, Ga. —

Snellville police say a man running from officers carjacked a driver Monday night and forced him to drive in a very dangerous police chase.

Officers said as they were trying to arrest Ben Kline after a burglary at the Crestwood Suites Hotel, he took off when they found a gun on him. The officer grabbed the weapon but wasn't able to catch Kline before he ran into the parking lot of the Presidential Markets strip mall and tried to carjack two different drivers.

Tariq Bell told Channel 2's Tony Thomas he was just about to get into his car when someone grabbed him from behind.

"He slung me out of the way and he was in the driver's seat and he was already turning the ignition by the time my eyes focused on him," Bell said. "I immediately reached for my sidearm and I loaded it and I ordered him to get out in one motion,"

Bell said Kline took off running.

"I just had to respond to protect my daughter. I didn't have time to think," Bell said.

Police said after Kline failed in his first carjacking attempt, he failed again when another driver had his doors locked and simply sped off. But then police say Kline found a victim when he jumped in the passenger side door of a car at Pharr Road and Scenic Highway.

"He had his hand under his shirt and kept telling him he was going to kill him if he slowed down and kill him if he stopped," Snellville Police Chief Roy Whitehead said.

Whitehead said the victim took off, with police chasing him and Kline.

Police dash cam video shows the SUV swerving all over Scenic Highway Monday night just after 8:30 p.m. It bashed into a police car a couple of times before going southbound in the northbound lanes, forcing other drivers to veer off and lay on their horns. The chase ended in a crash between two of the Snellville police cars and the carjacked car on Scenic Highway (Highway 124) near Highway 78.

Authorities said Kline ran on foot again but was captured a short time later.

Thomas spoke with the wife of the carjacking victim on Tuesday.

"Adrenaline took over and he was just trying to stay alive," she said. "He was just trying to keep going and keep moving and do whatever the guy said so that he could keep his life."

Kline and the man police say was also involved in the hotel burglary, Darrell Thomas, are both now behind bars.