Good Samaritan helping wreck victims has van stolen

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WICHITA, Kan. — A good Samaritan trying to help people who were just in a car crash became a victim of a carjacking Monday afternoon.

It happened just after 5 p.m. near MacArthur and Alfalfa street, in South Wichita.

Melvin Applebury told KAKE news he was driving by and noticed the accident. That's when he got out of his van to help. But his good deed soon turned into a nightmare.

Wichita Police said a truck hit the car, which caused it to roll over and pinned two people inside. Police say the woman driving the truck involved in the wreck then decided to steal the good Samaritan's van and run from the scene.

"During the incident one of the drivers exited from one of the wrecked vehicles and got into the vehicle of a witness," said Wichita Police Sergeant Bob Gulliver.

"We were trying to help and when you go back to help, you don't think about someone stealing your car while you're helping somebody hurt in an accident," Applebury said.

Applebury said that he and another person tried to stop the woman from leaving the scene but failed. She drove eastbound in the westbound lanes of Pawnee, and crashed into a sign, rock and light pole. She was then taken into custody after being hurt in that crash.

She's been identified through jail records as 29-year-old Jessica A. Rye. Police are trying to determine if she was under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

"We are speaking with her now and trying to figure out what actually occurred and what was going through her mind," Sgt. Gulliver said.

Pearlie Hill, the van owner, said she's frustrated about the whole situation.

"That's the only vehicle we had," she said. "We don't have a way to go anywhere or do anything."

A 7-year-old boy and a 32-year-old woman were hospitalized. Their conditions are unclear. Police say a third person suffered minor injuries.


The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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