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Tower Down: Tow Truck Owner killed during Carjacking (TX)


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Carjacking suspect kills owner, leads pursuit to Sugar Land

A carjacking turned deadly Friday afternoon when the owner of a stolen tow truck confronted the thief in broad daylight.


Shortly before 3 p.m., a tow truck owner dropped off a repossessed car to a lot along Beechnut Street, Assistant Houston Police Chief James Jones said in a press conference.


The repossessed vehicle – a black Kia – was just unloaded from the tow truck when the owner noticed someone driving away in his wrecker.


Tito Moczygemba was processing the repossessed car and witnessed the theft unfold. "He said, 'hey, somebody's stealing my truck.'"


The owner yelled to Moczygemba for the keys to the Kia and the pair chased after the thief.


Police say the two followed the wrecker west on Beechnut Street until it intersected with South Kirkwood Road, where the tow truck had stopped in a bank parking lot.


When the owner of the wrecker and Moczygemba got out of the Kia to confront the driver, the thief put the truck in reverse – pinning the owner, Moczygemba said.

"I was standing right there in front of him," Moczygemba described. "I ran back trying to help him, to give him CPR. He couldn't speak. There was blood coming out of his ear. His eyes were rolling back. I tried to help him."


The injured man, clinging to life, was transported by ambulance to a hospital, where he later died.

The suspect took off and police chased the wrecker into Sugar Land.


He eventually crashed into a pickup truck at the intersection U.S. 90 Alternate and Brooks Street where he was taken into custody, Jones said.


Homicide detectives investigating the incident will work with the Harris County District Attorney's Office to determine appropriate charges against the suspect. Jones says he could face first-degree murder charges.


The tow truck owner was described as a husband, father, and grandfather who frequently worked with Moczygemba repossessing vehicles. He worked on his wrecker everyday and took pride in his work.


"We were supposed to go to Galveston," Moczygemba said. "That's what we were talking about when (this happened)."


Neither the wrecker owner or the suspect were identified by police.


RESOURCE LINK with images





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This sounds more like the crime of auto theft, not car jack as there's no mention of taking the truck by force or fear. None the less, a man lost his life trying to take back his property. My prayers go out to the tower and his family.   R.

Randall C. Resch

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Vigil held for tow truck driver who died after being hit by man trying to steal his wrecker.


While they are often competitors on the streets, tonight they are united as brothers. Charles Abraham says tow truck driver Curtis Martin worked for him the past three years.

"It could have been any one of us. Wrong place, wrong time. First reaction, of course, is for us to protect our property. It's a sad case, one man lost his property," said Abraham.

Martin died while trying to chase down the man accused of stealing his truck. The father of 11 is remembered as a hardworking man who did all he could to provide for his children.

His son Justin Ellison said, "Always work for what you want. He always told me do right for others, you never know what might come in the future."

Houston police say Jonathan Nguyen, 27, first stole Martin's truck as the tow truck driver was repossessing a car. Then, as Martin and another man chased after him, Nguyen allegedly struck him with the tow truck as he got out of another car. It all ended after a police chase and crash.


Nguyen did not appear in court today as the allegations were read against him. He has a prior criminal history, including evading arrest, drug possession and deadly conduct with a firearm. He's being held without bond on capital murder charges.

Martin's boss says he watched him fight back from a stroke and heart issues to go back to work.

"He had so many other tough battles and then to lose it on this one, it doesn't seem fair. It's not our call," said Abraham.

Tonight, as they remember the driver, they are reminded of the dangers of their jobs and how they can all look out for one another.


RESOURCE LINK with video

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At the time the police pull Nguyen from the crashed tow truck, the suspect was wearing a reflective vest.  Other things come to mind, but that's simple speculation.  R.

Randall C. Resch

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