Family Screams for Help When Stranger Carjacks Their Van in San Jose

A family lived through a terrifying experience in San Jose when a man carjacked their mini-van with them still inside it. 

According to police, a grandmother, her daughter and young granddaughter were driving in San Jose waiting for a light to change when the carjacking ensued. 

The family was waiting at a traffic signal on Via Cinco de Mayo when a man opened the mini-van’s sliding door and jumped in. 

The man ordered the woman to drive to a different location, but about a block into the drive she pulled into a Valero gas station at Cropley Avenue where she screamed for help.

“The subject was confronting her and trying to take control of the vehicle,” said Steve Aponte of the San Jose Police Department, “that’s when calls started coming in to us, while he was chasing her around the car.”

One of the women in the mini-van jumped out of the vehicle and ran to a taco truck nearby. 

“The mom said ‘help me, help me’, and the guy started chasing her, so she left the baby with me screaming,” said Maritza Natareno of the taco truck.

She hid the youngest victim – who she said was about 4-years-old – in the taco truck while she did her best to comfort her. 

Police arrived and arrested 34-year-old Tyrone Merritt for several felonies. He was already on probation for auto-theft. 

As for the family, police say they were not injured but were very shaken up.

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