Modesto woman critically injured in attack

A 62-year-old Modesto woman was in critical condition Sunday after a carjacking in a grocery store parking lot, police said.

Modesto police detained two men in connection with the incident, but had not made any arrests Sunday evening, said Sgt. Craig Gundlach.

According to witnesses, a man with a knife approached the woman as she sat in her car outside the Save Mart at 415 Paradise Road about 7:30 a.m. Sunday, Gundlach said.

Witnesses heard the woman scream, then saw the woman and the man struggle inside the woman's car, a silver 2002 Hyundai Santa Fe. The woman was in the driver's seat and the man was in the passenger's seat, Gundlach said.

There is no indication that the woman and the suspected carjacker knew each other.

Witnesses saw the car leave the parking lot, then saw the woman fall out of the moving vehicle a short distance from the parking lot. At some point, the man forced his way into the driver's seat, police said.

It's not known whether the woman was pushed from the car or jumped out to escape, Gundlach said.

The knife was thrown from the car; police don't know if the woman or the suspect tossed the weapon.

The woman was taken by ambulance to a local hospital, where she was in critical condition Sunday evening, police said.

The suspected carjacker was last seen driving west on Paradise Road. Witnesses described the suspect as a Latino male, 40 to 50 years old, with short gray hair, possibly wearing a white shirt.

Stanislaus County sheriff's deputies found the woman's car abandoned on a canal bank off Florence Avenue in west Modesto a short time after the incident. Deputies and Modesto police officers searched the area.

Detectives detained a 50-year-old man and a 52-year-old man from a nearby apartment complex.

The woman's wounds included cuts and head injuries. Police don't know whether the woman was stabbed during the encounter.

Police believe the woman sustained head injuries when she fell out of the car, Gundlach said.

Detectives ask anyone with information about this incident to call the Police Department at 572-9500. Tipsters can remain anonymous by calling Crime Stoppers at 521-4636. Tipsters can text information to Crime Stoppers by sending a text message to 274637. Type "TIP704" along with your message.

Bee staff writer Leslie Albrecht can be reached at or 578-2378.