PANTEGO (CBSDFW.COM) – The North Texas mother allegedly carjacked and run over with her own vehicle is in critical condition at a Fort Worth hospital. Police say a man trying to steal computer equipment from a North Texas private school committed the crime.
The incident happened Monday afternoon outside of Pantego Christian Academy.
Police were actually called to the school before the carjacking.
“We got the call of a suspicious person inside the school,” explained Sgt, Barry Reeves, with the Pantego Police Department.
The man is believed to have been inside the school trying to steal a computer, but abandoned the idea. He then ran out of the building and took mother Nina Cherry’s Honda Odyssey van instead.
“As we arrived we received another 911 call of possible hit and run, pedestrian accident behind the school,” Sgt. Reeves said.
After a police chase into Arlington, the suspect, later identified as Benjamin Rowell, was arrested. Police say the 32-year-old has several aliases.
“We have a charge of Aggravated Robbery and Arlington [police] has various other charges, from the pursuit, to stolen vehicle and things of that nature,” Reeves said.
Rowell is being held on $500,000 bond.
Cherry, the mother of twin high school sophomores, was near the school field house when she was carjacked.
“From what we’re gathering he forcibly removed her,” explained Reeves. “At this point we don’t believe that she really even knew what was going on it was so fast.”
The woman was rushed to the hospital for emergency surgery on Monday and is said to be scheduled for another operation Wednesday
According to a posting on a website set up for people to connect and get updates on hospital patients, Cherry has a severely fractured pelvis, a lacerated bladder and burn and skin damage to her abdominal area.
Officials with the school said several groups got together to pray after Cherry was injured.
Pantego Christian Academy has students Pre-K through 12th grade.
A statement released from the school said, in part, “This crime is a stark reminder of the reality of living in a broken world with broken people – praise God that the ultimate hope and answer for the world is the free and perfect gift offered by the Creator.”
Both Pantego and Arlington police are investigating.
Pantego Christian Academy headmaster Jay Pritcher called the incident an abberation and said school officials meet annually to evaluate the security plan. This incident will be a part of any future review, he added.
“It truly is a tragic situation that happened to a wonderful woman and family, but God is good, even through something like this,” Pritcher said.
The town of Pantego borders Dalworthington Gardens and is completely surrounded by the city of Arlington.
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