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'It's sinking in for me that I could have died,' victim of Mentor crime spree speaks out

Posted at 5:21 PM, Jul 17, 2018

Crystal Thomas said she truly does feel lucky to be alive.

Thomas is one of the victims of a violent crime spree that happened on Monday. It started in Mentor and ended in Columbia Station. 

She was carjacked waiting for her dialysis appointment. 

"I am on a machine for 3 hours and 15 minutes every Monday, Wednesday, Friday," Thomas shared. 

Thomas was born with an autoimmune disease.

"I have hearing aids, I don't breathe out of my nose, it's closed off. I'm on oxygen 24/7," she explained. 

She's used to the area and knows the parking lot she was waiting in, but she said there's no amount of time, nothing, that could have prepared her for what she faced on Monday. 

"I noticed him running through the back of my car. He opened my door and said, 'Don't f****** look at me. Do as I say, get the f*** out of the car.' He had his hand on the back of head and my elbow and he threw me out of the car," Thomas said. 

He threw her oxygen tank, which was hooked to her neck, out of the window and took off.

"He gave me my life. I'm thankful he took my car and not me," Thomas said. 

She is only one of the victims of Monday's crime spree. A gun store break-in, shooting and chase in her stolen car started in Mentor and ended more than 40 miles away in Columbia Station where her Chevy was totaled in a head on crash. 

RELATED: Incredible dash cam footage of police chase from Mentor to Columbia Station

"They literally have to cut off the doors and pry them open to even search the vehicle," Thomas said. 

The innocent man Thomas' car jacker hit was rushed to the hospital where officials said he is still recovering. The suspect is also in the hospital.

One person involved in the crime spree returned to the scene and turned himself in. Authorities said he is a 15-year-old Cleveland resident. Another suspect was picked up walking in Mentor with injuries. The fourth suspect involved, a juvenile male, turned himself in Tuesday afternoon, according to the City of Mentor. Officials said he was accompanied by his parents. 

Thomas said, as someone who knows struggle all too well, that she forgives the man who took her car. 

"Life is too short. You're never promised tomorrow. So, I forgive him."