An intensive care unit doctor was struck and killed by his own car moments after someone stole it in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, and authorities are trying to find the person responsible, police said.
Dr. Rakesh Patel, 33, of Silver Spring, Maryland, died following the theft and crash in the Adams Morgan neighborhood, police said in an update Wednesday. He was a doctor at MedStar Washington Hospital Center and was training as a critical care fellow, his heartbroken family and the hospital said.
Patel was caring, social and smart, his father, Dr. Rajnikante Patel, said Wednesday. His life was “taken away for no reason,” he said.
“I always used to call him my baby,” his mother, Charulatta Patel, said. He was the youngest of five children, two of whom also are doctors.
We're making it easier for you to find stories that matter with our new newsletter — The 4Front. Sign up here and get news that is important for you to your inbox.
The killing was senseless, Patel's mother added. “For what? A car?”
"He will be greatly missed by those whose lives he touched. Please keep Dr. Patel’s family and peers in your thoughts and prayers during the days ahead," MedStar Washington Hospital Center said in a statement.
Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia local news, events and information
Police say Patel hopped out of his dark-silver Mercedes E350 in the 1800 block of Vernon Street NW at about 8 p.m. He was taking a package to his girlfriend and left the car running for a moment.
After Patel stepped away, someone jumped behind the wheel.
Patel ran to stop the crime and the thief hit him with his own car at Florida Avenue and 18th Street NW. The thief took off and left his victim in the street.
D.C. Fire and EMS took Patel to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
Officers searched for the sedan for hours and finally found it Wednesday afternoon about five miles north, at 16th Street and Roxanna Road NW, near the Maryland border. People say the car was parked there Tuesday night.
The hunt for the killer is ongoing. Police released video of two people they are calling persons of interest in the case.
Anyone with information is asked to call police at 202-727-9099 or text their tip to the police department's text tip line at 50411.
People were seen pouring bleach into the car and taking away its floor mats Wednesday, News4 learned. Police believe they were trying to sanitize the car.
Police initially only described the incident as a hit-and-run and later provided details about the theft.