REDDING, Calif. - The charred shell of a Heavenly Donuts delivery van sits inside the Keith's Towing yard.
The smell of burnt fabric and metal can be detected just walking near the vehicle.
"I got out of the van, left it running because it was cold and there was all kinds of people all over the place," explains Michael hammer, the delivery driver whose van was stolen early this morning.
CHP says the doughnut delivery van was stolen from the TA Truck Stop on Knighton Road around 2:45 a.m. Monday.
Hammer has been delivering the sweet treats before dawn for the past four years. He never suspected anyone would be so bold as to take a doughnut delivery tuck, still running, with the side-slider door open.
"Before I could even get them inside their doughnut case, I got to watch my van drive by the front doors," recalls Hammer.
For a split second, Hammer thought one of the workers at the TA Truck Stop might have been moving his delivery van.
"But it progressively sped up as it went by the doors, so I kind of figured it wasn't them," says Hammer.
That's when he realized his Heavenly Donuts delivery van was in the wrong hands.
"Somebody is stealing my work van! … I set their order down and I took off out the front door, and I yelled to the cashier to call the police for me," explains Hammer.
But by that time, the suspect had floored it.
"I got out the door just in time to watch all of my doughnuts, all of my deliveries for the night, go flying all over the pavement and him speed off around the gas pumps and take off," recalls Hammer.
About three hours later, CHP says the suspect, 34-year-old Benjamine Green, veered off Highway 299 near Swasey Drive west of Redding.
That's where the delivery van plowed into a tree, then burst into flames.
Green suffered major injuries and was transported to Mercy Medical Center where he was taken into surgery.
Green faces charges of possession of a stolen vehicle.
One lane of the roadway was blocked by emergency vehicles following the crash. The scene was cleared just after 7 a.m.