Southern California

‘You Almost Hit Me': Parking Lot Crash Course Caught on Camera

A driver who says he witnessed a hit-and-run crash followed a car to a Southern California parking lot, where he captured a brief demolition derby on camera

A bizarre series of events unfolded in a Southern California parking lot after a man who said he witnessed a hit-and-run crash followed the erratic driver and captured her frantic getaway on camera. 

Justin Thompson was driving near Railroad Canyon Road and the 15 Freeway in  Wednesday afternoon in Lake Elsinore when he said he saw a driver crash into another car, then leave the scene. The seemingly distraught driver then pulled into a Chevron gas station parking lot, where Thompson parked his minivan behind her sedan, pinning it into a parking space bordered by vacuum cleaners on one side and a curb on the other.

"I was trying to do what was right," Thompson told NBC4. "She does a hit-and-run. Who knows if those people were hurt. She takes off driving 90 mph. There's kids, there's other people." 

He captured what happened next on camera.

Thompson said he called 911, but before authorities could arrive the driver went through a series of dangerous maneuvers to back around his minivan and over a curb. At one point, the car's front bumper was ripped off.

The driver can be heard speaking to Thompson, who asked her to get out of the car, as she retrieved the bumper and wedged it into the car's back seat. 

"You really don't understand," she said. "I thought it was you when I pulled over."

After backing up into his minivan and moving forward several times, the driver appeared to reverse toward Thompson. 

"Are you kidding me? You almost hit me," he can be heard saying.

"Sorry," the driver responded through an open window as she sped away. "Sorry man. Sorry."

It was not immediately clear why she was speeding and driving erratically, but the Riverside County Sheriff's Department told NBC4 it would look into the report.

Thompson said the driver did not strike his van in the initial hit-and-run crash. 

No arrests were reported Thursday morning. There were no reports of injuries.

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