Watch CBSN Live

Cops: Man struck girl, 10, as he fled in mourner's car

BLOOMFIELD, Conn. - A man is accused of stealing a woman's car from a Connecticut cemetery while she and others were grieving there, police say, according to CBS affiliate WFSB.

Officers arrested 18-year-old Frederick Sowell, of Hartford, after they said he snatched the car, knocked over gravestones with it and struck a 10-year-old girl while trying to flee the Bloomfield cemetery.

Police said they were called to the Mt. St. Benedict Cemetery around 2:45 p.m. Annemarie Rabett, who owned the car, said she tried to detain Sowell after he got into the car, but failed, reports the station.

Court documents reportedly show that Rabett stopped near the cemetery's office to get water for some flowers and left her friend, 86-year-old Elvira Curti, in the car with the keys.

Sowell went into the car with Curti still inside. The frightened woman then threw herself out of the passenger's side door, according to the station.

Rabett reportedly realized what was happening and ran back to the vehicle. She grabbed onto Sowell through the driver's side door, which was still open.

Sowell pushed her away and drove off, knocking over gravestones as he fled, according to police.

He also reportedly drove towards another group of mourners and caused them to scatter. That's when police said he hit the 10-year-old, who was unable to get out of the way.

She was not seriously hurt, but was still transported to Connecticut Children's Medical Center in Hartford.

Police said several members of the group followed Sowell in their own vehicles and were able to stop him.

Sowell was arrested and charged with carjacking, second-degree robbery, first-degree reckless endangerment and second-degree breach of peace. He was arraigned in Hartford Superior Court on Monday and his bond was set at $500,000, reports the station.

Family of Sowell reportedly said he has bipolar disorder and has been on medicine for it. However, they added he stopped taking his medicine over the past year.

Court officials said Sowell has no prior arrests.

The Windsor Police Department said it was investigating the child being struck as well as the portions of the incident that happened in its town. Police expect to pursue charges.