CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) – A man was sentenced to 22 years in prison for carjacking a car with a baby in the backseat, according to Acting U.S. Attorney William T. Setzer.
Maurice Rakestraw, 31, was convicted on charges of carjacking, possession and brandishing of a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence, possession of a firearm by a felon, and stealing a firearm.
He pleaded guilty to those charges in November 2020.
Rakestraw has also been ordered to five years under court supervision after his release.
In December 2019, police said a man stole a vehicle with a baby inside and crashed in east Charlotte before he was arrested near a school where children had been playing outside.
Police said the suspect, identified as Rakestraw, stole the car and crashed on Eastway Drive near Arnold Drive. A baby around 18 months old was inside the car at the time and is reportedly OK.
#BREAKING: Police have shutdown a busy east Charlotte road after a person carjacked a vehicle with a child inside. The car flipped with the baby in the backseat. Suspect ran but is now in custody » https://bit.ly/2rhhyPT
Posted by WBTV News on Thursday, December 5, 2019
According to court documents and evidence presented at Rakestraw’s sentencing hearing, Rakestraw was a passenger in a vehicle that was stopped by Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police officers.
During the traffic stop, he got out of the car and ran where he carjacked two people in a parking lot of an apartment complex.
Court documents revealed that Rakestraw pointed a firearm at one of them and threatened to kill him if he did not give Rakestraw his car.
Rakestraw then sped off in the stolen car with child still in the car seat.
Police said Rakestraw crashed the stolen vehicle into a trailer being pulled by a truck and flipped the vehicle onto its roof.
According to evidence presented at the sentencing hearing, Rakestraw crawled out of the car and ran away from the crash scene, leaving the baby in the overturned vehicle. The occupants of the truck pried the car’s door open and remove the baby from the car seat, according to court documents.
According to court documents, CMPD officers found Rakestraw shortly thereafter, walking along a sidewalk. An officer attempted to take Rakestraw into custody but he took off into the woods.
Rakestraw was arrested after he was found in the schoolyard of Merry Oaks International Elementary.
Officers also found Rakestraw’s gun nearby in the woods, according to court records.
Police learned that Rakestraw had stolen the gun during a domestic violence assault two days prior.
Police say people on scene removed the visibly upset child before he was taken to the hospital to be checked out.
Police said this could have been “a much worse situation.”
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