After a stolen car crashed into a tree near American University, police took a suspect into custody, but not before he tried to carjack another vehicle, witnesses said.
AU student Natalie Brown was picking up another student, Joe Kennedy, on Massachusetts Avenue NW to drive to Maine for the holiday break. She got out of the car to help Kennedy with his luggage, leaving the car running.
As Kennedy put his luggage in the trunk, a man jumped headfirst into the car through the open driver's side window. Brown reached inside, grabbed the stranger by the collar and asked if it was some sort of joke.
"I heard the engine rev and I heard Natalie say, 'Is this a joke?'" Kennedy said.
"He looks me square in the face, doesn't say anything and finally manages to get it out of park," Brown said.
The man drove away but didn't get very far.
"That's when I ran to the road and saw him enter Ward Circle going the wrong way in traffic," Kennedy said.
The man veered past cars before turning on to Nebraska Avenue and slamming in to a tree.
The man then tried to carjack another vehicle, Kennedy said.
"He got in to one lady's car and tried to drive her car while he was sitting on her in the driver's seat, and it was a stick shift, so he couldn't get it in gear," Kennedy said.
The driver of a dump truck then pulled the man out of the car and held him for police, Kennedy said.
Police arrested 40-year-old Shamsul Khan and charged him with carjacking.
Brown and Kennedy planned to rent a car to continue their trip to Maine.