A man tried to carjack a Houston news van on Monday, before he overpowered responding police officers and stole their patrol car, officials said.
Reporter Sofia Ojeda and photographer Damon Sales, of NBC affiliate KPRC, were at the intersection of Texas and Chartres Streets in downtown at about 5:40 a.m. ET when they were sideswiped by another driver — who then demanded their news truck, the station said.
"He said, 'I'm stealing your vehicle. I'm stealing your vehicle,' " Sales told KPRC. "He tried to pull me out. We're buckled in, and he's like, 'Get out! Get out! Get out!' "
Moments later when two Houston police officers showed up, the carjacker — who appeared to be drunk — pushed one of them down, dragged the other one out of the car and then took off with their cruiser, KPRC and police said.
The suspect was caught about 6 1/2 hours later by campus police at the University of Houston, officials said.
"This is definitely something that we never imagined that would happen — traumatizing and scary," a shaken Ojeda said in a video posted to her Facebook page. "But again two Houston police officers were nearby and they jumped right into action to help us."
The patrol car had a juvenile suspect in the back when it was taken, the station said. He was let out by the carjacker a few blocks away and the young suspect flagged another police car, KPRC reported.
The stolen police car was found four miles away in a wooded area near Old Spanish Trail and Produce Row, authorities said.
The car used to crash into the news van had been carjacked in Harris County about an hour earlier, authorities said.
Ojeda, Sales and the two officers were examined at a nearby hospital and released, officials said.
The reporter and photographer had been on their way to Minute Maid Park to grab footage of the Houston Astros returning from their American League Championship Series game in Boston on Sunday night.