Investigators say a young woman hit a bicyclist leaving him in critical condition while she was behind the wheel of a stolen car with deputies in hot pursuit.
It all started at a car wash on Cortez Road in Bradenton. It came to an end when deputies used stop sticks on 15th Street East. That driver is facing a list of charges.
Employees at the Blue Dolphin Car Wash say they have never seen anything like it before. They were washing a red Cadillac when a woman got inside and stole someone else’s vehicle. She then led deputies on a chase.
"I just turned around and told people, she's stealing my car!" said Janet Schnell, the owner of the 2013 Cadillac XTS.
Hal Sherman was washing the car. The woman, later identified as 20-year-old Tippy McCullough, told him it was her car. However, she did not have the stick the car wash gives customers to show that they paid for services. When Sherman asked her about the stick, that’s when she got in the car and sped off.
“I looked in the back in the back she started the engine,” he said. “I reached in the tried to get the stick shift to pop it into park. It just started taking off. I jumped off the car I was holding on to try and make it go into park but she started accelerating.”
According to authorities, McCullough fled south and was chased by several sheriff’s officers before turning east on 53 Avenue East. As she came to U.S. 301, she went over the median and struck a man riding a bicycle. She also crashed into a sheriff’s cruiser causing minor damage she fled again and was arrested on 15th Street East.
“I just couldn’t believe that it happened. I have been here a long time and have never seen anything like that happen before,” said car wash manager Art Sadler.
McCullough is being charged with grand theft auto and other traffic-related charges. The bike crash victim is a 61-year-old man. He’s in critical condition his name has not been released.