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‘It was insane:’ Witnesses help victim escape alleged hate crime

CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. -- Two workers at a Chester law firm could have never imagined the drama that took place outside of their office last week. The two women tell CBS 6 that they had no idea they would end up helping a victim to safety.

The victim was a woman who was driving on River’s Bend Boulevard May 3, when a man in a vehicle behind her jumped out of his vehicle, ran up to her car and screamed at her. All the victim could think about was getting away, but the man followed her as she turned onto East Hundred Road.

Megan Grubb still can’t believe the violent and bizarre crime she watched play out in front of the law firm she works in. Grubb said she watched a man, now identified by police as Matthew Ellis, run up to a woman’s car and attack her after he crashed into the back of her vehicle.

Megan Grubb

Police say Ellis targeted the victim because she was black.

“He was just yanking her by the feet. She was screaming help me,” Grubb explained.

Arlenie Medina ran out behind Grubb to help the victim. She said Ellis was in a violent rage. She’s thankful for two men who stopped to help.

“You had people that kept driving, then you had these two gentlemen who stopped and I’m grateful. He saw the guy literally coming after three women,” Medina said.

“I was very scared because what if he had a weapon? I didn’t think about that at first, all I thought about was helping this girl because I heard her screaming,” Grubb explained.

As Medina managed to distract Ellis, the victim was able to run inside of the law firm where Medina and Grubb work.

Matthew Ellis

“Within seconds, he was trying to tackle the door and was shouting racist derogatory things at both of us. It was very frightening,” Medina said.

During those tense moments, she said the victim was completely shaken. As Ellis tried to get into the building, the two good Samaritans tackled him, holding him at bay until Chesterfield police arrived.

Now Ellis is charged with a hate crime, plus three felony assault charges for attacking the victim and spitting on police. He’s also charged with abduction, breaking and entering, failing to abide by a traffic light and reckless driving.

He’s being held in jail without bond. Ellis must return to General District court June 5.