A young Nashville rideshare driver hurled herself from her speeding Ford Explorer to escape a man suspected of holding her hostage at knifepoint, police said.
Carolina Vargas, 26, said her SUV was traveling approximately 60 miles per hour when she unbuckled her seatbelt, opened the door, and jumped onto a Georgia highway to escape alleged captor, Christopher Miller, last Friday, local media reported.
"I took my seat belt off and grabbed my phone and in that second that's when I opened the door and jumped," Carolina Vargas told CBS affiliate WTVF.
After striking the pavement, Vargas’ legs were run over by her own vehicle. She reportedly lost consciousness on the roadway.
"I just remember feeling a ball of fire where the tire drove over me," Vargas said.
Miller was arrested in Jacksonville, Florida following the dramatic interstate incident. He’s been charged with kidnapping, false imprisonment, assault and auto theft, St. Louis television station KMOV reported.
Vargas, an Uber driver, met Miller last week after she drove the trucker to a Hampton Inn in Cleveland, Tennessee, according to NBC affiliate WSMV-TV. He told her his truck had broken down and that he needed a ride back to Nashville on May 8.
She accepted and returned to the inn last Friday. A representative for Uber later stated that the incident was not an Uber trip and hadn't originated on the app, according to WTVF.
"I wasn’t scared. Normally if I feel weird about something I don’t do it at all," Vargas told WSMV-TV.
Shortly after beginning the trip, Miller allegedly demanded Vargas take an alternate route to bypass possible traffic. After she became suspicious, Miller allegedly produced a knife and threatened her.
"I know it was my only chance,” Vargas said, WSMV-TV reported. “If I got to where he wanted me to be, I wasn’t going to make it out. That’s when I grabbed the phone, unplugged it, and jumped."
Miller supposedly regained control of the moving vehicle and sped off in Vargas’ Ford Explorer after she threw herself onto the highway, KMOV reported. She lost three front teeth after jumping out of the SUV and may now require dental and reconstructive surgeries. Her injuries were initially thought to be life-threatening.
"I didn't break one bone,” she recalled. “And I'm so grateful just to be alive. I couldn't believe everything was so fast."
A passerby stopped alongside the busy highway to help her and later phoned law enforcement, WTVF reported.
"I grabbed her hand so hard, and I was just like, ‘Please, don’t leave me,” Vargas told KMOV about the passerby. “‘Please, please, please don’t leave me. I don’t want to die — please don’t leave me, please.’"
Miller allegedly was in possession of several guns at the time of his arrest. Vargas' 2011 Ford Explorer later surfaced in Cleveland, Tennessee, law enforcement said according to WSMV-TV.
Vargas is convinced that if she hadn’t made the daring plunge, it might have been her last car trip.
"If it wasn’t because I jumped, and because I saved myself with God's help, I wouldn’t be here,” Vargas said, KMOV reported. “And who knows who would be the next victim."
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