Local News

Hit-and-run victim: 'I was underneath the truck'

Posted February 23, 2010 3:05 p.m. EST
Updated February 23, 2010 6:40 p.m. EST

— Seth Thompson was at his father-in-law's house on N.C. Highway 27 in southern Harnett County when he heard a car horn honk. At first he though nothing of it, then he heard the honk again and saw a white pickup truck park in the driveway.

As Thompson testified Tuesday in the trial of Abdullah El-Amin Shareef, who is accused in a 2004 hit-and-run rampage across three counties, he recalled walking over and standing in front of the truck.

“The driver floored it and hit me with the truck, knocked me down and drug me 40 to 45 feet underneath the truck,” Thompson said.

Shareef, 31, of Raeford, is charged with murder and four counts of attempted murder. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty against him.

Shareef has undergone mental health treatment since his arrest and entered an insanity plea in 2008.

During opening statements on Monday, defense attorney Carl Ivarsson said his client was suffering from untreated paranoid schizophrenia at the time of the crimes.

Cumberland County Assistant District Attorney Cal Colyer said Shareef knew what he was doing when he "went on a murderous rampage" on the morning of April 14, 2004. Authorities said he stole a city-owned van in Fayetteville and headed north. He hit and injured three men in Fayetteville, then ran over Lonel Bass in Linden, killing him, authorities said.

Shareef abandoned the van, took Bass' pickup truck and continued north, authorities said, running down Thompson in Harnett County before crashing the truck in Fuquay-Varina, where he was arrested.

“I was underneath the truck, just getting bulldozed,” Thompson said Tuesday.

Thompson, 34, was able to pry his arm from underneath the front passenger-side tire and stand up to look inside the truck. “He sat there and he looked at me and he started reaching down for something,” he said.

Fearing the man might be reaching for a gun or switching gears, Thompson ran.

Thompson said he got into his own truck and soon began pursuing the white truck. He said he followed the truck along N.C. 217 for a couple of miles and reached speeds of 90 miles an hour. “I was on the phone with 911 describing the truck and what had happened,” he said.

Thompson said the pick-up truck managed to elude him: “And he drove between a house to get to the next road, and by the time I turned around, I lost him.”

During the chase, Thompson said, the driver had no problem staying on the road and passing cars.

Prosecutors have cited Shareef's erratic driving as an example of someone who understood what he was doing.

"He was purposely weaving in and out of traffic," Thompson said.

Shareef’s trial had been postponed because he was considered unable to understand court proceedings. Court officials say medication has allowed Shareef to become competent to stand trial.

The incident left Thompson with road rashes all over his face and tire burns on his arm. Thompson also received up to six stitches.