Florida

He crashed his car — then stole a truck from man who stopped to help, Florida cops say

When Felix Coffman saw a crash on the side of Interstate 95 in Florida, the 52-year-old stopped to lend a helping hand.

And one of the people involved in the accident returned Coffman’s good deed by speeding off with his truck, police say, according to WFTV9.

Coffman said it was a valuable lesson on the ills of today’s world.

“You tend to try and help people out if they need help and some people take advantage of it and advantage of you,” the man said, according to WKMG. “That’s just the way society is these days. I’m not going to sit there and let him burn to death in a car.”

Police say 27-year-old Zachary Searls crashed into another car Monday night — and then his vehicle hit a tree and burst into flames, according to The Daytona Beach News-Journal.

In body camera footage from the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office, Coffman described the moments leading up to the high-speed crash.

“The guy shoots by me at over 100 miles per hour. All of a sudden I see lights shooting off sideways like this,” Coffman is heard saying in the video. “I see this car, the guy’s standing out here going like this. I stop. I see this car up in the woods on fire.”

Coffman went to check on the driver Searls had run into, police told WKMG, and soon made a startling discovery.

“I turn around and he’s driving off in my damn truck!” Coffman says, as seen in the video footage.

Police say they found the stolen truck outside of Searls’ house, which they located by running the tags on his car, according to WFTV9. Coffman confirmed he was the person who stole his truck, police say, and Searls was arrested.

Searls has a $6,000 bail and is in Volusia County Jail, according to CBS12. “He is charged with grand theft of a motor vehicle, leaving the scene of a crash with injuries, no valid driver’s license and resisting an officer without violence,” as reported by the TV station.

Police identified 47-year-old Mathew Lepak as the second driver involved in the crash, according to The Daytona Beach News-Journal. He suffered only “minor injuries” that were treated at Halifax Medical Center, the newspaper reported.

In an interview with WESH, Coffman said it was just “second nature” to make sure everyone was OK.

“I would hate to see somebody burn up in a car and know that if I could’ve done something and I didn’t,” he told the outlet.

And Coffman said he’s glad that a special possession in his truck — which police found “within the hour” of the theft — wasn’t missing, WESH reported.

“Little tiny heart with some rings around it, with ashes of my mother in there,” Coffman told WESH. “I’m just glad he didn’t grab that thinking that it was worth something.”

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