MILWAUKEE -- Milwaukee police say a 50-year-old Milwaukee man was killed in a crash that happened near 93rd and Silver Spring Drive on Monday night, November 23rd. The victim is accused of stealing a vehicle just before that crash.
The crash happened around 10:00 p.m.
Hours later, it was still a mess at the scene of the crash. Debris littered the sidewalk and grass near where the vehicle slammed into a tree.
Police say the 50-year-old man who was driving the car stole it about a mile away from the scene of the crash.
Police say he was driving at a high rate of speed prior to the crash.
The lights from emergency vehicles caught Lee Coleman's attention as he worked at a nearby gas station near 93rd and Silver Spring Drive.
"When I got down there, I saw this car twisted up by this tree with the engine and stuff hanging out in the middle of the street," Coleman said.
The 50-year-old driver was pronounced dead at the scene.
"When I got down there, they were just putting the yellow thing over his body," Coleman said.
It was a lot for Coleman to take in. He says he was shaken up by the incident.
"At first it did, when it was fresh and it just happened, and then once I started learning what happened..." Coleman said.
Police say the vehicle the victim was driving wasn't his car. Police say he had stolen it from Gianelli's Pizza and Chicken Man's parking lot moments before the crash.
Witnesses told police the keys were inside the vehicle when it was stolen -- and someone who knew the vehicle's owner saw the suspect speed off inside it.
"It makes you want to watch your car and make sure nobody is messing with it," Coleman said.
Sources tell FOX6 News the 50-year-old man first hit the building, and then a small tree nearby -- before speeding off, past Coleman's place of employment.
"The police came to the gas station last night. They took the video to see what happened. Did he go past our gas station? I think they said something about he did go past the gas station speeding at a high speed," Coleman said.
And eventually, the 50-year-old car thief would lose his life.
"It's just kind of sad it did happen. I feel sorry for the family," Coleman said.
Other people who were nearby when the crash happened say it was an extremely gut-wrenching scene.
People were shielding their children from the sight -- as a small crowd had gathered nearby.
Police say the victim has been identified, but since his family hasn't yet been notified, his name is not being released.
They say he does have an arrest record -- although that record does not involve stolen vehicles.