A murder suspect was on the run. The 36-year-old was in a black pickup truck last week, leading authorities on a high-speed chase that stretched across three California counties.
While the suspect evaded police for more than an hour, he passed 44-year-old tractor-trailer driver Ahmed Shaaban, who drove more than an hour from his home in San Diego to the Los Angeles area to pick up a load, only to find it had been taken by another driver.
About 40 or 50 police cars tailed the man when Shaaban saw him zoom by. A friend Shaaban was speaking to on the phone told him that the man was wanted on a murder charge, Shaaban told The Washington Post in an interview.
As Shaaban was searching for a place to park his truck for the night to avoid another long drive home, the suspect made a left turn into his truck.
Shaaban said nothing was going through his mind as adrenaline coursed through his body and he slammed the gas pedal of his semi, causing the man to crash into the right side of the truck as he tried to speed through an intersection.
Shaaban’s impulse helped authorities arrest and book Michael Caleb Reed on a felony charge, according to Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department inmate records. An attorney for Reed was not listed.
An unidentified female passenger in the truck with Reed was also arrested but has since been released, CBS Los Angeles reported.
Shaaban, a father of three, had purchased the truck ruined by the collision just five months ago for $75,000.
He said he’s worried that his insurance might not pay for the damage to his truck because he deliberately crashed it — a decision he says he does not regret and one he attributes to fate.
A GoFundMe account has raised more than $51,000 to help Shaaban get back in the driver’s seat.
A trucker for seven years, he drove more than 120 miles from San Diego before the other driver accidentally picked up his load, something he said has never happened to him.
“I drove all the way there just to get to this guy,” Shaaban said. “It was very coincidental.”
Shaaban said that he had some knee pain after the crash but that he’s feeling better now.
“I did the right thing,” he said.
Earlier in the month, the Pacific Southwest Regional Fugitive Force of the U.S. Marshals Service asked the public on Bakersfield news station KGET to help find Reed for suspected carjacking and felony evading. A special agent warned the public that Reed had past arrests on charges that included rape, burglary, possession of a firearm and driving under the influence.
Days later, Reed was named a person of interest in a March 28 homicide, CBS Los Angeles reported.
Family members of the victim, Michael Lewis, have been accusing Reed across social media, according to Bakersfield Now.
Shaaban told local news outlets that Reed had to be stopped on his chase.
“I had to end it before he killed someone or hit a car or hit a kid,” he said.