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'Like Grand Theft Auto': Eyewitness shares his account of eastside carjacking

A Bellevue man and his son were sitting at a stoplight Wednesday when the car next to them got carjacked.

ISSAQUAH, Wash. — Two men are in a King County jail Thursday night, 24 hours after a wild scene played out in Bellevue and Issaquah. 

The suspects are accused of carjacking a vehicle at a stoplight in Issaquah. One suspect then led police on a car chase which ended with him plunging the car into the Snoqualmie River. 

Video from the King County Sheriff’s Office helicopter shows an overhead perspective of the chase. KING 5 News spoke with a man who was on the ground, right next to the action.

“I haven't ever witnessed a carjacking like this before,” explained Mike Hayertz, who had quite the Wednesday afternoon. “My son and I had just finished getting Starbucks. I heard a helicopter above so I knew something was going on.”

Hayertz and his son were stopped at a red light at Southeast 38th Street and 150th Avenue in Bellevue, right next to the vehicle that got carjacked.

“All of a sudden, there's a scuffle going on. I'm thinking there's a domestic violence going on and I'm wondering what to do,” said Hayertz. “Next thing I know, there's cops pulling out from the front and the rear, blocking the guy in and the cop was yelling, ‘let her go, let her go.’” 

Hayertz said his 12-year-old son, who was sitting in the passenger seat, became uneasy about the crime unfolding right next to them, so he attempted to pull away from the carjacking when the suspect gained control of the vehicle. 

“He rams into the car behind us, and then, he gases it right towards me,” Hayertz said. “I noticed that in the rearview mirror... he was coming at me full speed. I then got out of the way, otherwise, he would have rear-ended me, for sure.”

“It was kind of like Grand Theft Auto right in front of us,” Hayertz said. “And I think it was a good lesson for my son as well. Just to realize that you'd have to be careful out there.”

Both suspects involved in the carjacking were booked into King County Jail. One suspect is being held on bond and the other were make his first court appearance on Friday. 

The King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office is waiting to get the case from investigators before charges are officially handed down, however, spokesperson Casey McNerthney says there isn’t a crime called “carjacking” on the books.

“Carjackings are charged based on what happens in them,” McNerthney explained. “So if there's a shooting in it, that's an assault one potentially, or a murder charge, if that happens. If not, it's a robbery charge. There's no carjacking charge in state law. But it's certainly a priority for the prosecutor's office. And we charge those cases when they're referred to us.”

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