Vidalia woman escapes knife-wielding carjacker

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 19, 2000

A Vidalia, La., woman who fell victim to a carjacking in Natchez Monday escaped by jumping out of her vehicle as her attacker slowed for a traffic light.

Elizabeth May, 44, said she was getting into her truck at Kmart parking lot just after 8 a.m. Monday when a man forced her into the passenger seat and drove east on John R. Junkin Drive while holding a knife to her rib cage.

May said she offered the man her wallet, and he began mumbling about needing money because &uot;his kids had gotten burnt up in a fire.&uot;

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Trying to calm her attacker, May said she began talking to him and telling him about her own three children. As the vehicle turned south on Seargent S. Prentiss Drive, May said she began to feel the man’s grip loosening.

When he slowed for a traffic light at the intersection of Highland Boulevard, May saw an opportunity to escape, unlocked the door and jumped out. Though the man still clung to her, May freed herself and with only a few bumps and bruises, flagged down a passing motorist and called 911 from a nearby gas station.

&uot;I don’t know how in the world I did it,&uot; she said. &uot;God was watching over me.&uot;

Natchez Police Chief Willie Huff said the suspect is a black male in his mid-30s, about 5’10&uot; with a slender build. He has some facial hair and was wearing camouflaged coveralls.

He was last seen driving west on Highland Boulevard in May’s black 1995 Chevrolet Silverado with an extended cab and Louisiana handicapped license plates.

Huff said detectives believe the suspect may have mentioned to others about his children and a need for money and asks that anyone having any information or spotting the truck contact the Natchez Police Department or Crimestoppers.

Huff said May was correct in escaping from the vehicle before the suspect could drive to a secluded place. People, especially women, should rehearse a plan of action in case they are caught in the same situation, he said. May said she did not realize she was doing the right thing and &uot;didn’t really think about it, I just did it.&uot;

Though safe and relatively unharmed, May said she worries now what she and her family will do for Christmas. The truck was the family of five’s only vehicle. May, who works two jobs, said several of the family’s Christmas gifts were inside the vehicle.

May said she hopes someone the suspect abandoned the truck and someone will find it or call the police if they have any information.