'Wonderful people of Polk County' thwart would-be carjacker four different times

An ex-felon was repeatedly rejected when he tried to carjack several vehicles while fleeing a hit-and-run crash in Lake Alfred this morning, even getting sprayed with gasoline and leaping from an overpass during the escapade.

According to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office, it was around 7:45 a.m. when Christopher Hendrix crashed his truck near the S.R. 557 exit along on Interstate 4. He took off on foot towards a nearby Marathon gas station and tried to steal a Chevy Colorado that was parked at the pump.

The truck’s driver, though, doused him with gasoline from the pump when she saw what was happening.

That’s when Hendrix allegedly got into a van parked nearby, but the van’s owner – a concealed weapons permit holder – drew his own handgun and chased Hendrix off.

Hendrix ran down Route 557 and jumped from the overpass onto I-4 below, forcing a box truck to slam on its brakes to avoid hitting him; the box truck was then rear-ended by semi-truck.

When a passing pickup truck driver stopped to help, deputies say Hendrix tried to get into that truck but was thwarted by locked doors. He allegedly ran across the interstate and got into the passenger seat of a Chevy Equinox whose driver had also stopped to help. 


Hendrix's truck at the initial crash scene, which is under investigation by FHP.

That driver yanked the keys out of his ignition and jumped out of the car, leaving Hendrix stranded as deputies arrived on the scene.

After his arrest, deputies say Hendrix he kicked out the rear window of a PCSO patrol car and tried –unsuccessfully – to escape. 

“I want to thank the two people at the Marathon station who I call wonderful people of Polk County who said, 'Uh, you’re not going to steal my truck. You already tore up your own truck up.' And then the people on the interstate who said, 'Uh, you’re not stealing our vehicles.'”


Photo via PCSO

The 32-year-old now faces several charges, including carjacking, grand theft auto, and occupied burglary.

The sheriff says Hendrix has several previous arrests, including a charge of attempted murder, and spent eight years in prison for aggravated battery with a deadly weapon.

“I have no idea what this guy was thinking, but it’s obvious he has five brain cells and three of them weren’t working,” Sheriff Judd added. “Our goal is to send him back to state prison for an extended period of time because it’s painfully obvious that the community is not safe when he is at large.”