Two American University students were carjacked early Tuesday, police said.
Just before 9 a.m., Natalie Brown and Joe Kennedy, both seniors at American University, were packing a car to go back home to Maine when a man jumped head-first through the open window on the driver's side of the car.
"It's just a totally insane situation that has put a bit of a road bump on our road trip," Kennedy said.
Brown said she thought it was a prank.
"I thought I was getting punked or something so I grabbed onto his collar and was like, 'Is this a joke? Who are you?' and he just looked square at me and didn't say anything."
The man took off in the silver Impala with everything in it, but when he reached the Ward Circle, he went the wrong way against traffic.
"Once the vehicle got into Ward Circle, it started driving counter clockwise," said MPD Commander Mike Reese. "The man then drove into a tree."
Witnesses say the carjacker--identified as 40-year-old Shamsul Khan--sat in the totaled wreck for about 15 seconds, dazed, before getting out shoe-less and trying to enter other cars stopped at the traffic light.
Eventually Khan found one woman who hadn't locked her door.
"He proceeded to get in and sit on her and try to put the car into gear," Kennedy said.
However, as Khan tried to drive away on her lap, a dump truck driver grabbed him, pulled him out of the car and held him until police arrived.
Despite a totaled vehicle and a crazy start to their holiday, Brown and Kennedy are taking it in stride.
"[We've] got a good story to start off the holiday cheer," Kennedy said. "At least we're keeping smiles on our faces."