Owner Killed in Carjacking Accident, Suspect Charged

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CLEVELAND -- The alleged driver in the carjacked vehicle accident that killed the owner will be arraigned on an aggravated murder charge.

Jorge L. Martinez will face a judge at 8:30 a.m. Sept. 5 for his what police say was his part of the deadly crash.

Police say a Cleveland man was killed in a bizarre accident early Sunday when he spotted his stolen vehicle being driven by a suspected carjacker and decided to take matters into his own hands, even though he was speaking to police officers.      

The chain of events began at 3:30 a.m. on West 98th street, when Buddy Blair, 44, made the fateful decision to loan his Subaru Forester to a friend. But a short time later, the friend was carjacked by a group of people armed with knives and baseball bats. He escaped and he and Buddy Blair called police, who arrived at the scene.

Investigators say Buddy Blair then saw his stolen Subaru drive by, and made a decision that would end his life and break the heart of his 72-year-old mother and his four children.

Cleveland Police Spokesperson Jennifer Ciaccia told Fox 8, "He then runs up to the vehicle, grabs onto the side of it, and is hanging on by the luggage rack. At which point the driver of the vehicle accelerates and takes off from police. The police officers rush to their vehicle, they get into the zone car and they pursue it and the vehicle basically immediately crashes and rolls over."

The Subaru had struck a tree and a fire hydrant at a high rate of speed. Buddy Blair was trapped between the vehicle and the tree and was pronounced dead at the scene.  

Markeisha Levert, who lives across the street from the accident scene, told Fox 8, "I heard something go boom, and that's when I looked out my window and I saw that the car was on the side."

Neighbor Jerry Riffle added, "By the time I looked over onto the tree lawn, there was a body there, it didn't dawn on me that it was a body, it looked just like a mannequin."

Investigators say the victim's friend has told them that the deadly chain of events was set into motion when he borrowed Buddy Blair’s car to go and purchase illegal drugs.

Police arrested the man at the wheel of the stolen vehicle at the accident scene and later rounded up three other suspects. They also found the bats and knives they believe were used in the carjacking.

Investigators and witnesses lament the fact that Buddy Blair would still be alive if he had let the police officers do their job.

Detective Ciaccia told Fox 8, "Policing is a partnership, we want you to be involved on that level but we do not want you to try and solve your own crimes or try and pursue suspects, ever."

Jerry Riffle added, "Looking at it from my point of view, your merchandise ain't worth your life. Cars, your house, your clothes are being replaced; your life cannot be replaced."

Police say the driver of the stolen vehicle will face a charge of aggravated vehicular homicide, and he and the other three suspects accused of the carjacking, will face a charge of aggravated robbery of a motor vehicle.