A man who stole three cars on New Year's Day chose a Chattanooga TV reporter as his last victim. He was identified as Chris Allen Gore, 24, of North Georgia.
The first auto theft took place in Catoosa County. The stolen Nissan Sentra was reportedly being chased by police when it crashed into a house near Stateline Road.
The car thief then ran off and forced his way into a second vehicle which
was nearby, police spokesman Ed Buice said. The driver of that car said he had pulled over to let another vehicle ahead of him cross a single lane bridge. While he was waiting, the man jumped in. The two of them scuffled, and the driver was bitten by the car thief. He was also scraped up when he was dragged by his vehicle.
A little while later, the suspect drove the stolen car onto the parking lot of the Conoco station at 1221 E. Main. Its right rear tire was in shreds by this time.
Reporter Mai Martinez, who has worked at FOX61 for just a couple of months, happened to be at the Conoco interviewing people for her New Year’s Day story. The suspect approached her as if to begin a conversation, then he suddenly forced his way into her Jeep Cherokee and sped off, punching and dragging Ms. Martinez in the process, Mr. Buice said.
She received a number of scrapes and bruises and was taken to Erlanger Medical Center for treatment. She was also bitten on the arm by her attacker.
A citizen saw what was happening and followed the FOX61 Jeep out Rossville Boulevard and called police on a cell phone. He kept following the car until officers could arrive, then he helped the officers take the suspect into custody at Central Avenue and Lynchburg.
The suspect is being charged with aggravated robbery by Chattanooga Police for stealing the FOX61 vehicle and attacking Ms. Martinez.
Other charges are pending against him in East Ridge and Catoosa County.
Mai Martinez joined FOX61 in October. 2003. She is a native of San Francisco but calls Anniston, Ala. home.
She came to FOX61 from FOX6 in Birmingham, where she got her start in television. She's a graduate of Jacksonville State University, where she majored in Communication and English and minored in Spanish. She has worked in television, newspaper and radio.