Tuesday, May 5, 2009

It's the Principle

Holy crap, I haven't written anything in for.ev.er! It's as if I played some sort of April Fools joke on myself... I've been having internet access issues and at this moment am 'borrowing' a neighbor's wireless, so I've got to make this brief. I'm not really writing anything today, but I've got a news story for ya. I'm not encouraging anyone to do this, but I like the story and LOVE the quote near the bottom. For me, it's very often "the principle of the thing." That philosophy has caused me no end of trouble over the years, but I wouldn't have it any other way.
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Published on HamptonRoads.com | PilotOnline.com (http://hamptonroads.com)
Woman clings to car hood on Military Highway to thwart thief

NORFOLK

Jeanette Balazsi was so determined to get her stolen purse back that she wound up clinging to the hood of a getaway car like a stunt woman in a Hollywood action scene.

It wasn’t the way the Navy wife and Norfolk legal assistant planned on spending Sunday. After church, she stopped at a Food Lion at Bromley Shopping Center for groceries.

She didn’t think anything of it when she kept bumping into the same woman in the aisles — even when the woman seemed to always need something where she was standing. When she realized her purse was gone, she yelled for people to stop the woman.

Two Food Lion employees gave chase and Balazsi wasn’t far behind. Outside, she saw the woman trying to close the door of a car while struggling with a store employee.

Balazsi stood in front of the car so she couldn’t pull off. But the woman started driving forward and Balazsi jumped on the hood to keep from getting hit.

“She just kept going,” she said. “She went straight on out of the parking lot and I grabbed hold of the hood where it meets the window.”

The car bumped over an access road. And then the woman turned onto Military Highway. “That’s the moment when I’m thinking what have I got myself into.”

Balazsi said the woman accelerated, then slammed on the brakes.

“She was trying to throw me off. Then she floored it again and she swerved back and forth to shake me,” she said. “I just held on for dear life."

She knew the car was going too fast to jump. A woman in the passenger seat was screaming.

“I don’t know if she was screaming at me or if she was screaming at the driver.”

Balazsi was screaming too. The car slowed enough for a sharp turn into a neighborhood.

She swung her legs over and tried to land on her feet, bracing herself for the breaks of bones when she tumbled off. Except for scrapes and bruises, though, she was alright. The car, meanwhile, headed on.

A Mapquest query listed the distance from the market to the intersection as 0.2 miles.

A man on a Harley came by and Balazsi said, “Follow that lady!” Others stopped to help too.

The car came back, headed in the opposite direction. People jumped out of the way and called authorities with the license plate number. The car turned back onto Military Highway with the Harley on its tail.

Chris Amos, a spokesman for the Norfolk Police Department, said the car hit another car and the motorcycle that was following, but no one was hurt. He said police followed a short time until the car crashed at the on-ramp of Interstate 64 from Chesapeake Boulevard.

Police arrested Jennifer Leigh Jones, 32, of the 1100 block Elk Ave., on charges of eluding police, attempt to commit a non-capital offense, third-offense larceny, and child abuse and neglect, all felonies. Police say there was a 1-year-old child in the car. She was also charged with driving under the influence and two misdemeanor charges of hit and run with property damage.

She is being held in the Norfolk City Jail without bond.

The woman who was a passenger was not charged.

Balazsi said her wallet was found under the seat of the car. The purse and other items had been thrown from the car, she said.

“There was no money in it anyway,” Balazsi said.

She was more worried about identity theft, charge cards, and the principle of it, she said.

She didn’t want the thief getting away with it.

She never saw the man on the Harley again.

“I would love to speak to him and tell him thank you,” she said.

People make comments about the bad things people do, she said.

“But for that one bad person, there were like 10 people who stopped to help me.”


Janie Bryant, (757) 446-2453, janie.bryant@pilotonline.com

1 comment:

Michael said...

Having once stared down two would-be robbers (one with a pistol pointed at my waist) in graduate school in Pittsburgh, I really liked this story. I wouldn't have jumped on the hood of a moving car over a purse, but I admire her courage and tenacity.