“I just don’t understand the reasoning. I mean my husband complied. Why would you want to beat the poor man half to death. The detective said he’s lucky to be alive,” Barbara Willinghan said.
Her husband, Jim, was just warming up the car, preparing to make a quick run to grab some money to go grocery shopping.
Now he’s in the hospital with a crushed pelvis.
Neighbors say Jim was a walker. He, Barbara, and their collie ‘Teddy Bear’ would pace the pavement along Cardwell Avenue every day.
The family has lived on the block for more than 30 years and until Wednesday, they never thought they’d be staring violence in the face until Jim was attacked.
“He got something out of the trunk of his car, got to sit in the driver’s seat to warm his car up because it was extremely cold outside. He reached for the door to close it, and that fast, these guys in an SUV come flying down the road,” Barbara said.
Baltimore County Police say six teens hopped out of the SUV, knocked Jim down, stole his Buick, and then used it to run him over.
The injuries almost killed him.
“Once a juvenile crime becomes more serious, more aggressive and violent as it is in this case. Then those types of crime need to have serious consequences or we’re just releasing violent offenders back on the street regardless of their age,” said Officer Jennifer Peach, a spokeswoman with the police department, said.
Violent offenders that, perhaps, wouldn’t have been caught if not for a quick-thinking cable guy across the street from the Willinghans who got the carjacking on video.
It was a quick tip for police to catch four of the teens.
It’s still unsettling for Barbara who now is focused on making sure she can get Jim walking again.
“We would walk Teddy Bear up and down the street and we’ve never had anything happen like this before,” Barbara said.
According to Barbara, Jim will need months of rehab to learn to walk again.
As for the teens, three of them have been charged as adults with assault – the driver was even charged with attempted murder.
Police are still looking for the other two teens.
A link to a GoFundMe has been created to help Jim and Barbara. If you'd like to donate, click here.