Posted on March 10, 2022

MedStar Doctor Hit by His Own Car and Killed After a Thief Jumped In and Sped Off

Peter Hermann and Emily Davies, Washington Post, March 9, 2022

Rakesh Patel pulled his gray Mercedes to a curb near Florida Avenue and U Street in Northwest Washington on Tuesday night, got out and walked over to his waiting girlfriend.

He had a package for her, and he set it on the sidewalk. She hugged him, and he kissed her on her forehead.

But as Patel had his back to the car that was still running, police said, at least one person jumped inside and sped off. The 33-year-old doctor at MedStar Washington Hospital Center chased after the Mercedes, police said, and was run over and killed.

“A nightmare,” said Patel’s girlfriend, Rachel Lincoln, who saw the tragedy as it occurred on the southern edge of Adams Morgan and tearfully recounted her boyfriend’s final moments.

Police found the Mercedes E350 on Wednesday abandoned on a residential street near the Maryland line, according to a D.C. police department spokesman, but have not made any arrests.

D.C. police released a video of what officials said is the victim’s Mercedes being parked on a street in Northwest Washington. Two people who appear to be men are seen getting out of the vehicle, one from the front-passenger side and other from the back. The video shows the people walking away from the car. {snip} Police describe the two people as “persons of interest” in the case.

The death comes as carjackings and auto thefts mount nationwide and across the District, becoming a top concern of residents growing frustrated with crime. The District’s mayor and police chief have called for more officers to restore a sense of security to city neighborhoods, and authorities in the Washington region banned together hoping to crack down on violence related to car thefts.

Carjackings in the District spiked 200 percent from 2019 to 2021, and continue to rise this year. Auto thefts are up 9 percent in 2022. {snip}


Police have described the carjackings and car thefts as crimes of opportunity, with the vehicles used for joyrides or to commit other crimes. Authorities also point to a trend of what they call “jump-in” auto thefts of vehicles left unattended and running.