When Roxanne Brisson stopped to help a car that appear stuck in the middle of Riverside Drive Sunday evening, she never imagined what would follow.
In front of the stopped car was a man who appeared to be in distress. Dashcam video shows the man walking towards Brisson’s vehicle, pleading with her for help.
“Put me in your backseat,” he said. “This guy’s trying to kill me.”
Quickly, Brisson instructed the man to stay in front of her vehicle and called 9-1-1, assessing the bizarre situation, happening in the middle of rush-hour traffic.
“He was trying to get into my car at the same time but I knew that wasn’t safe so I kept my doors locked and I was trying to keep him calm because I realized he was mentally unstable and needed medical attention,” Brisson recalled to CTV News.
Frantic, the man instead walks back into traffic, this time stopping another vehicle. This time the doors were unlocked.
“You can hear the people in the other SUV with the four-ways on saying don’t let him in, drive away, but then he got in,” Brisson said.
Video shows the man hopping into the passenger seat of an orange SUV, then moments later the rear door opens, and screaming can be heard from inside the vehicle.
“I see the man is physically assaulting the driver, the female driver of the SUV and he’s pushing her out. She gets out, he closes the car, he’s trying to start the car,” Brisson said.
An eight-year-old boy and his pregnant mother fled the car, seeking shelter in Brisson’s vehicle while waiting for police to arrive. Their SUV was captured racing-off towards the highway.
“I’ve seen a lot of crimes happen in my life, unfortunately, but I’ve never seen that. I’ve never seen a carjacking,” Brisson said.
The woman suffered minor injuries in the theft and was taken to hospital. Her son was not harmed.
Ottawa police say the incident is a good reminder for drivers of the need to stay vigilant, even when helping others.
They recommend drivers keep their doors locked and only open their windows a fraction if they feel comfortable doing so. Police also recommend drivers attempt to move to the side of the road if possible.
“If you feel this person is making you feel threatened or causing you concern, don’t be afraid to call 9-1-1 and our police communicator can assess the situation and send help if needed,” Ottawa Police Community Safety Services Sgt. Jasdeep Bajwa said.
Police say the man in the video was arrested Monday morning in Brockville, Ont. An investigation is underway and charges are expected.