COLUMBIA, SC (WCSC/WIS) - Out-thinking her gun-wielding kidnappers, a young Charleston native escaped by rolling out of a moving vehicle in Columbia.
The 20-year-old, who Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott identified only as Jordan, said it happened as she returned to her apartment after work shortly after midnight on Wednesday. She said three males came out of hiding and one held a gun to her head, forcing her back to her car.
She credits her criminal justice studies at USC for helping her keep her cool.
She said one of the three males fled the scene but the other two forced her to drive to an ATM to withdraw money.
"I was running through options in my mind: Can I crash the car? Can I try to veer off the side of the road? Can I run? What can I do?" she said. "Basically I came to the realization I have to put as much distance in between them and myself as possible."
Jordan said the kidnappers couldn't drive her car.
"Thank goodness I have a manual transmission so they were unable to drive it because I think that's the only thing that saved me," she said.
That, she said, is what kept them from controlling the situation.
"For them to run into something unexpected kinda put a wrench into their original plans, kinda made them a little flustered," she said.
She said there was talk they would sexually assault her, so she took advantage of the opportunity after withdrawing money to keep her seatbelt unbuckled. After leaving the ATM, she missed a turn.
"During that confusion, I just saw clarity, this was it, this was it when I needed to get out," she said.
That's when she threw the car into neutral and rolled out of the car, and flagged down help. The two kidnappers rolled down the road in her car until it went into a ditch. Richland County deputies say two suspects, a 17-year-old and a 15-year-old are in custody in connection with a series of robberies and kidnappings in the area that appear to target college students.
The woman's father, who lives in the Lowcountry, said news of the kidnapping was a call no father wants to get at 1:30 a.m. He rushed to Columbia, arriving at 2:15 a.m. to find police still on the scene.