Lucky to be alive: Police search for driver who ran man off of road, nearly killing him


“I’m lucky that I’m not in there for life but the many weeks that I have been in there is long enough,” said 23-year-old Joel Radford.

“There” is his wheelchair. Radford was almost killed on March 16 when an unknown driver slammed into his car three times.

Radford was driving on Route 15 at around 1:30 in the morning when a car came up behind him. Driving his girlfriend’s car, he was on his way to Walmart for carpet shampoo. It was her son’s birthday the following day. Radford says he let the car pass before another car came — this time driving close behind him — so close, he couldn’t see the driver’s headlights. That’s when the driver bumped the back of Radford’s car.

“I pulled off to the right to exchange information, stuff like that, and then all of a sudden he just darted out in front of me and threw it in reverse and tried backing into me,” said Radford.

Radford called his girlfriend and explained the situation, snapping photos of the car as it drove away. Just a few moments later, those photos would be everything. Joel took an exit on to 66 before the car came behind him again, this time slamming into his back left wheel, called a “pit maneuver.” 

Virginia State Police say the car spun and flipped about three times. Radford, who wasn’t wearing his seatbelt, was ejected from the car. He was found by police at 1:43 in the morning. 

Radford was medi vacced to Inova Fairfax Hospital. The injuries were endless — a fractured jaw, shattered bones in both legs… All that’s left on the side of the highway is broken glass and car parts.

But Radford is sure of what he saw. Paint chips have been recovered from Radford’s girlfriend’s car — a confirmed red or maroon. Joel believes it was a 1990 to 1994 Toyota Corolla. 

Radford and his family say details from the police have been slow coming.

“Trooper Anderson has sought out and reviewed surveillance cameras at a nearby business, collaborated with Prince William County Police on the investigation, and worked to enhance several photos of the suspect vehicle taken by the BMW’s driver,” said Corinne Geller, public relations director for the Virginia State Police. “Unfortunately, none of those investigative efforts yielded any new leads related to the suspect vehicle. The suspect vehicle should have minor damage to its front passenger side.”

Anyone with information related to the crash or red sedan is encouraged to call the Virginia State Police at 703-803-0027 or #77 on a cell phone or email at

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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