Man critically injured trying to stop suspects from stealing car

Posted: Updated:
BELLEVILLE -

A Belleville man is in critical condition after trying to stop two thieves from stealing his car from his driveway.

Police say that it all started on High Street in Belleville where the Dillon family lives. Police say that two males, ages 17 and 19, walked through an unlocked back door of the family’s home and grabbed a set of car keys.

Police say that the homeowners, identified as James Dillon and his wife, tried to stop the two men as they attempted to steal the car.

"The wife put a garbage can behind the car to try to prevent it, while the husband tried to remove them from the car,” says Belleville Police Lt. John McAloon.

Police say that when this didn’t work, Dillon jumped onto the hood of the car. A video from a neighbor’s Ring security camera spotted Dillon on top of his vehicle as the thieves sped away through the neighborhood.

"They drove approximately 2 miles, at which point [Dillon] was ejected from the hood of the car,” McAloon says.

Police say that Dillon was thrown from the car near Bridge Street. His daughter Angela says that he suffered bleeding on the brain and broken ribs.

“I feel like if this did happen, and my dad didn't do anything, that would be very unlike him,” she says. “He's always just been very protective so…the fact that he went to the extent of going on the hood of the car is, that's my dad.”

Police say that the stolen car eventually crashed on South 11th Street in Newark. The two suspects were arrested after a brief foot chase with police.

Police have identified one of the suspects as 19-year-old Lorenzo Esiahs. Esiahs faces attempted murder charges, according to the prosecutor. The 17-year-old was not named due to his age.

Authorities also say that earlier that night the pair broke into a home on Prospect Street and stole the keys to two cars. They flipped one of the vehicles and took off. Police say that this is when they encountered the Dillon family.

Belleville police are urging residents to lock their doors at night.

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