Driver stops runaway car but gets his pickup truck stolen in the process

Driver stops runaway car but gets his pickup truck stolen in the process
A.J. Ostrander says he doesn't regret helping stop a runaway car with his pickup truck, even though the pickup was stolen.

An Omaha man who had his pickup truck stolen by someone he was helping on the Interstate says he won’t quit helping others.

About 12:15 p.m. Monday, A.J. Ostrander, 46, noticed four men chasing an unoccupied car rolling along the shoulder of the road as he headed west on Interstate 80 near 50th Street. The car’s hood was up and the doors were open.

“It seemed like that car would go out into traffic and someone would crash into it going 70 mph,” Ostrander said. “I just wanted to get it stopped. I pulled my pickup in front of it and got it stopped.”

The four people ran up shouting their thanks, Ostrander said. He then noticed that the bumpers of his truck and the car had hooked together, so he got out to separate the vehicles.

“That’s when three of the guys started grabbing tools from my truck and another got in and drove away,” Ostrander said. “The other guys ran across the median to the eastbound side (of I-80). I jumped on the side of my truck to try and get (the driver) to stop.”

The driver threw Ostrander’s own hammer at him and Ostrander fell off the pickup. The thief then took the 60th Street exit ramp, turned the truck around and picked up his buddies.

“When (the driver) came back by to go east, he was laughing and flipping me off,” Ostrander said. “The last I saw the truck, it was taking the 42nd Street exit.”

Ostrander learned from police that the car rolling along the shoulder of I-80 also had been stolen.

Because Ostrander has GPS on his 2001 Ford pickup, he tracked it to a building near Eppley Airfield. The thieves had abandoned it.

“This is not going to stop me from helping somebody again,” said Ostrander, who works in auto sales. “I’m a firm believer in helping people, and I would do the same thing again. That rolling car could have caused a lot a damage.”

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