Police: Duo carjacks woman, 93, drags her 20 feet outside DeLand church

DeLAND, Fla. — Two men carjacked a 93-year-old woman and dragged her 20 feet Thursday morning while she was on her way to church, the DeLand Police Department said.

The duo shoved the woman to the ground and took her keys at about 8:15 a.m. outside Saint Peter Catholic Church at West New York Avenue and North Delaware Avenue, city spokesman Chris Graham said.

Investigators said the carjackers drove the Chrysler erratically as officers followed them. They said the men drove through yards before crashing the car in a wooded area at West Winnemissett Avenue and South High Street.

David Leo Perkins III, 21, of Daytona Beach, and Darius Matthews, 20, were arrested not long after ditching the wrecked vehicle, Graham said.

Investigators said the victim, Maraquita Steinmetz, of DeLand, was on her way to daily Mass when she was attacked.

She said she pulled into the parking lot, and one of the suspects was on a bicycle. He approached her, grabbed the keys and pushed her aside, police said.

Steinmetz held onto the steering wheel as the man began to drive away. Steinmetz couldn't hold onto the steering wheel any longer and fell to the ground, police said.

Matthews told investigators he didn't know about the carjacking and that he didn't know Perkins.

He later admitted to investigators that Perkins was his cousin, police said.

Matthews said he and Perkins were near the church when he said it would be easier if they had a vehicle, police said. Matthews said Perkins left for a second and came back with the vehicle, investigators said.

Perkins told investigators he was punched in the face by Matthews and forced to drive the vehicle.

He later admitted that was a lie but said Matthews pulled up to him on the side of the road and told him to drive the vehicle, investigators said. Perkins then requested a lawyer.

Matthews has a prior arrest on a battery charge.

Perkins was released from prison 19 days ago after serving time for burglary and aggravated battery with a deadly weapon.

Karen Moran Gilbert, who lives nearby and is a member of the church, said she worries about people coming to the building at odd hours.

"Usually someone's always there, and I get concerned for another lady that comes in and cleans the church," Gilbert said.

DeLand Police Chief Jason Umberger said Steinmetz was shaken up, "but otherwise fine."