A reporter in Georgia got terrifyingly close to the story last week — falling victim to an attempted kidnapping after a woman hijacked her news van.
CBS46 reporter Iyani Hughes had just finished a report early Tuesday and was editing video in the back of a station news van. As she moved to lock the doors, 38-year-old Seniqua Lunsford allegedly ran up to the vehicle and jumped into the running vehicle's driver seat — taking off with a screaming Hughes in the back, according to CBS46.
Police alleged Lunsford was attempting to escape from the scene of a crash, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
“While the police officers got out to check on the wrecked vehicle, the driver of that vehicle got out of the vehicle — unbeknownst to the officers — walked over to the van that belonged to the news station, got in it and drove away,” Atlanta police spokesman Officer Steve Avery said.
Local news anchor Karen Greer had a live earpiece giving her audio about the incident while it was unfolding.
“It is frightening when you become the news story as a journalist,” Greer said to CBS46. “I could hear in my ear because they realized in master control that something was going on so they were rolling on it and I could hear her scream and I could hear Jeff our photographer yelling somebody just drove off in our car.”
The van traveled a short distance before it crashed, prompting Lunsford to allegedly get out and flee — this time getting apprehended by police, Fox 5 Atlanta reported.
Police say Hughes wasn't injured in the crash, but was taken to a hospital as a precaution. Lunsford, who is also pregnant, suffered a broken arm and was also taken to the hospital, according to the Fox affiliate.
"Hughes is shaken up; but recovering at home. Many of you have sent your well wishes and left thoughtful comments which is appreciated and will no doubt help Iyani on her road to recovery," CBS 46 said in its story about the event.
Avery told the AJC he is grateful that no one was seriously injured. “You are just doing your day-to-day job, and things go sideways like that."
Lunsford is currently being held at a local detention center, according to the AJC. She is facing charges including aggravated assault, kidnapping, hijacking a motor vehicle, second-degree criminal damage to property, possession of amphetamine with intent to distribute, and obstruction. She was denied bond in a later hearing on her charges, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.
It's unclear if she has an attorney who can comment on her behalf.
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