Mom hit by own van in carjacking outside Arlington school

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by CYNTHIA VEGA and JIM DOUGLAS

Bio | Email | Follow: @wfaajdouglas

WFAA

Posted on May 8, 2012 at 9:01 AM

Updated Friday, Nov 1 at 2:58 PM

Pantego Christian Academy

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ARLINGTON — An Arlington woman remained in critical condition Tuesday after a carjacking that took place at about 5 p.m. Monday outside Pantego Christian Academy.

Investigators said a man ran out of the school building after trying to steal computers, pulling a parent out of her vehicle, hopping inside and then fleeing the scene. Police said Nina Cherry was run over by her own van during the incident.

Benjamin Rowell, 32, was arrested following the violent carjacking. Police said Rowell caused two more crashes before he jumped out of Cherry's stolen vehicle, attempting to flee police on foot before he was captured by police.

His capture was credited to a tracking device that had been installed on Cherry's vehicle.

Cherry was transported to John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth. She squeezed the hands of visitors on Tuesday and mouthed the words, "I love you."

Her family is requesting privacy.

School officials said Chrry underwent surgery overnight and is expected to recover. However, they said she suffered multiple injuries, including a fractured pelvis and internal injuries.

Cherry is the mother of sophomore twins at Pantego Christian Academy. They were among many expected to take advantage of grief counseling at the school. In a note on the school's Facebook page, headmaster Jay Pritcher said counselors were on hand Tuesday morning to talk with students.

"We assure you our campuses are secure and annually review our security policies," he wrote. "Our current comprehensive security policy includes more than two dozen surveillance cameras, access controlled doors and a master locking system managed by computers."

Rowell is being held at the Arlington jail on a $520,000 bond. Records show he has served time in Harris and Tarrant County jails and in state prison.

Rowell got off parole in January of this year, and Pantego police say he might have been homeless.

WFAA.com's Marjorie Owens contributed to this report.

E-mail cvega@wfaa.com and jdouglas@wfaa.com

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