NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) – When a person undergoing treatment inside a Norfolk emergency room allegedly ran out of the hospital and stole a car, the situation turned into a dangerous joy ride and an ugly crash — leaving two victims carless and waiting for answers.
The story starts the day before Valentine’s Day, when a man was visiting his wife’s grave at Woodlawn Memorial Gardens Cemetery. That’s when police say a woman stole the man’s car and started driving recklessly over several gravestones and into the streets.
The woman had been undergoing a CAT scan when she abruptly got up and ran out of the emergency room, according to 911 calls placed by employees of Sentara Leigh Hospital.
“This is [redacted] from Sentara Leigh Emergency Department, we have a patient that’s not stable mentally,” the 911 caller said.
“She just checked into the emergency department… she jumped off the CAT scan table, became combative, ran into the cemetery behind Sentara Leigh Emergency Department, stole a gentleman’s car, drove around. She’s definitely a risk to herself and others,” the caller said.
Minutes after Norfolk dispatch received that 911 call, Chrystal Davis felt the impact of a car crashing into hers from behind. She was parked outside a home on George Street about a mile and a half away from the cemetery.
“When she hit us, we rotated, she flipped the car around, it hit the mailbox,” she said. “At the time, we [were] in shock, trying to figure out what had happened, ’cause nobody could understand.”
Three months later, Davis is still trying to understand how the woman behind the wheel of the car could have gotten there.
“Her face was down where your feet would be and she was kicking the window. She was kicking the window saying, ‘Get me out of here,’” Davis said.
A bystander happened to see what was going on when he drove by, so he stopped to help.
“She was down on the floorboard with her legs and arms flailing, but she hadn’t figured out how to get out of the car yet,” Hicks said.
“Eventually she figured out how to get out of the car and she came after me. We ended up on the ground scuffling, she was trying to punch me and bite me, she said she was going to kill me,” Hicks said.
Eventually, Hicks and another bystander were able to pin the woman to the ground and she was taken back to the hospital by ambulance.
Now, three months later, Davis said she’s still unclear about how she will financially recover from the crash.
“It’s been physically, mentally and emotionally draining, this whole incident,” she said.
Her insurance money covered some of the expenses, but not nearly everything. Before Davis can apply for gap insurance, she needs to complete her physical therapy, which she’s paying for out-of-pocket. Since she’s without a car, she’s also paying for Uber rides to get to those appointments three times a week. So, she went to Sentara Leigh to ask for help since she felt the hospital should have done more to not let the woman leave the emergency room.
“I don’t want people to be fired, but we should be compensated,” Davis said.
Instead, the hospital sent her back to her own insurance.
“They’re giving me the runaround,” Davis said.
“Knowing that they made a major impact to my life. Nobody’s going to say, ‘Hey, we did this,’” she said.
The man whose car was stolen from the cemetery didn’t want to speak with WAVY News on camera. In bodycam footage from the crash, the man tells police he doesn’t want to press charges and apologizes for the whole incident.
“I’m just sorry everything happened. It was that quick,” he said.
According to the man’s insurance agent, his claim with the driver’s insurance company was denied. They’ve sent the bills to a collections agency and are awaiting payment.
Davis said she, too, can do nothing but wait.
“Right now I’m just stuck,” she said.
No charges have been filed in this case.
WAVY News did attempt to reach out to the driver of the stolen car, but our attempts to reach her were unsuccessful.