“I watched this guy steal my car with my kids in it:” Father hopes suspect is arrested soon

HIGHLAND HEIGHTS, Ohio – It was a nightmare that a Richmond Heights father says he will never forget.

“Literally I was looking at this guy driving away in my car, with my kids,” said Derek Driskell, 33. “I will never get over it, you never get over it.”

It happened December 15 around 8:45 p.m., when Driskell stopped at a fast food restaurant in Highland Heights to get take out.

“It was cold and the boys were in the backseat watching a movie so I thought I could run in and out quickly and get the food to bring home, but that will never, ever happen again,” Driskell told Fox 8.

He said he was in line and kept looking outside to check on the his two boys, ages 3 and 7.

“I think the fourth time I went to look back I see the silhouette of the guy running to the car, so that’s when I took off out the door,” Driskell said. “He was already in the vehicle by the time I got out the door.”

Steven Lynch, who was also in the Chipolte at the time, said he saw Driskell run out.

“I feel terrible for this guy,” Lynch said. “It’s just awful what happened.”

Lynch said he saw Driskell run after the car, and grab onto the car door.

“I saw the suspect, he was a young African-American male, he saw me and laughed and kept driving,” Driskell said. “I was hanging on the door and getting dragged. I thought he was going to wreck and I didn’t want the car crashing with the kids in it, so I let go. I literally fell in the middle of the street.”

Driskell ran to a nearby gas station and called police.

“Someone just stole my car with my two kids in it, they got my kids in it,” Driskell can be heard telling a 911 dispatcher.

A few minutes later, the 3-year-old was forced out of the car. Erin Veshaj was driving on Wilson Mills Road and saw the boy in the middle of the busy street.

“I was driving towards the freeway about to go north bound, and I saw this child as I was getting to the turn lane just standing there , it was shocking,” Veshaj said. She said the boy was crying. She took him to her car and called police.

About 30 minutes later the 7-year-old boy was forced out of the car. He was found in a neighborhood on Cleveland’s east side. A woman brought him to Cleveland’s Fifth District Police Station.

“Whoever would do this to these little kids is a monster,” Driskell said. “They are traumatized.”

Driskell is praying the suspect will be caught soon.

Anyone who knows anything about this crime is asked to call Highland Heights police or Crimestoppers of Cuyahoga County as soon as possible