Father and son in tow truck chase robbery suspects in Fort Worth
02:00 PM CDT on Monday, March 23, 2009
By KATRINA GUTIERREZ / The Dallas Morning News
Fort Worth police are crediting a father and son for helping capture one of two men accused of holding six hostages during a robbery.
Ollie Ray Whitworth, 43, and his 18-year-old son, Ollie Ray Whitworth Jr., were in a tow truck and leaving the Abandoned Vehicle Enforcement business in the 6800 block of Randol Mill Road on Sunday evening when they saw a robbery taking place in the office.
The Whitworths thought it was a joke until they encountered a second robber wearing a black skullcap, sunglasses and bandanna covering his face. The man pointed his gun at the Whitworths and ordered them into the office, where four other people were being held hostage.
The robbers took the cash register and fled on foot. When the Whitworths heard the robbers shaking a gate to escape, they decided to pursue them.
The Whitworths jumped into their truck and followed the robbers, who were on foot, to a nearby mobile home park. As one of the robbers fired at the Whitworths, the Whitworths knocked him down with their truck. The robber then ran to a white Chevy Caprice and drove away. The Whitworths continued their pursuit, trying to cut off the fleeing car.
During the pursuit, the Whitworths used the radio in their truck to notify other tow-truck drivers about the robbery. Kelly Hedge, 32, who was filling up his truck at a nearby gas station, heard the radio alert and drove to the mobile home park, where he saw the suspect who was on foot. He jumped out of his truck with a handgun and flashlight and gave chase.
Hedge found the suspect under the steps of a mobile home, but the man fled. As Hedge chased him, the Whitworths and the robber in the Chevy Caprice spotted them. Hedge fired a couple of shots at the Caprice, and Whitworth drove head-on toward the Caprice to stop the Caprice from hitting Hedge, police said. The Caprice swerved and hit a street sign. The driver then fled on foot.
The younger Whitworth got out of the tow truck and helped Hedge tackle the other suspect.
Christopher Mayor, 26, was charged with aggravated robbery, Fort Worth police said today. He was taken to John Peter Smith Hospital and treated for non-life-threatening injuries sustained during the chase and capture.
The second robber remained at large Monday morning, and police had not released a detailed description.