‘I was lucky’: 81-year-old man thanks God after escaping carjacking attempt in Gastonia

GASTONIA, N.C. — An 81-year-old man in Gastonia said he is thanking God that he was able to win a struggle with a carjacking suspect.

Clearance Jones told Channel 9′s Ken Lemon that he is still hurting from a tug-of-war after a man tried to yank him out of his car.

Police said the incident began after 30-year-old Jared Clinton stole a vehicle from Bessemer City Road. Clinton knew officers were close, so he decided to ditch the stolen vehicle at a nearby Citgo and then steal another car.

Police said that’s when Clinton saw Jones about to get out of his red Kia.

Jones told Channel 9 that Clinton grabbed his door with one hand, reached through the window and grabbed the 81-year-old by his shirt.

“He was cussing, and he tried to come to snatch my door on the right side,” Jones said. “When he went to pull it, I pulled it. I just got so mad. And whatever it was, I just tried to do the best I can.”

At that moment, Jones said he threw his car in reverse, stopped hard, and then pulled forward.

“If I wasn’t for the Lord I don’t know what would have happened. I’m going to tell you something, it’s bad. It’s bad,” Jones said. “He was trying to pull the door open and me too. I was lucky. I just thank God to get the help and strength.”

The move caused Clinton to lose his grip on the vehicle. He was later taken into custody by police.

Jones said he has lived in his Gastonia community for 50 years and never had anything like this happen to him before. He said his shoulder still hurts, but he is OK.

Police said Clinton is in jail with a $250,000 bail.

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