Titusville, Fla. (CBS TAMPA) — A Walmart manager who was taken on a wild 15-mile, 90 mph ride in the back of a pickup truck of stolen beer has been fired for his actions.
Walmart Assistant Manager Mike Dawson caught two thieves attempting to steal 12 cases of beer from the Titusville store when he went out to write down their license plate numbers, WESH-TV reported. However, while he stood behind the pickup truck in the parking lot, the man and woman nearly backed him over, causing Dawson to jump into the bed of the truck.
An ensuing ride lasted for 15 miles at speeds over 90 mph until Dave Stewart – a Good Samaritan on his way to a shooting range – heard pleas for help. Stewart pulled a gun on driver Joseph Long and an unidentified female accomplice, before they let Dawson out of the back of the truck. Long was arrested days later on charges of armed robbery, kidnapping and grand theft after shoplifting the 12 cases of beer.
Manager Dawson, however, did not escape cleanly: he was fired from his job on Monday.
Dawson claims he did not intend to get into the truck, but did it only out of necessity.
“When I realized how close I was, I jumped in the back so they didn’t run me over,” he told WESH-TV. “I did not know how I was going to get out of the back of that truck. I really didn’t. I’m just very, very blessed.”
He also alleges that the couple stopped a few times in attempts to attack him, but were rebuffed when he fought back.
“One time they tried to beat me up, and I fought with them and lost my glasses. The second time was like in the back woods somewhere, and I’m like, ‘I’m not getting out for you to run me over.’”
But Walmart officials were not thrilled with Dawson’s pickup truck turmoil.
“He could have stayed back and taken down the license number, but what he did was not the right call. He put himself and others in danger,” Walmart spokesman Kory Lundberg told WESH.
Lundberg also stated that Dawson had three perfect scores in his store safety training sessions, so they fired him for violating those policies.