ATLANTA – When Natalie King stopped to check on a pregnant woman and a 3-year-old involved in a rush hour car accident, someone drove off with her vehicle.
The 25-year-old was on her way to work Wednesday morning when she saw two other vehicles collide. Like other drivers, she stopped to see if the woman needed help.
King left the key in the ignition of her 2006 Volkswagen Passat because it seemed there would be little danger of it getting stolen -- cars were backed up on the road because of the accident and there were no sidewalks.
"It didn't seem like a prime area for a car to get stolen," she said.
But less than two minutes after she got out of her car, it was gone. Someone apparently drove it onto a side street and disappeared.
The people who called 911 to report the wreck were back on the phone to make a new report -- of the car theft.
"To take a car in the midst of an accident with people all around, wow," said David Rocchio, one of the drivers involved in the car accident.
King lost more than $20,000 worth of belongings, including her wedding and engagement ring, which she said she took off to apply lotion to her hands when she witnessed the wreck.
Atlanta police found her car Friday but could not find any of the valuables, which included her laptop, her cellphone and a GPS navigation unit.
She said she has no regrets for stepping forward to offer help and that the paramedics who arrived to check on the accident victims told her to not let this deter her from helping others in the future.
"Maybe next time, I will turn off my car and lock it," she said.