Carjack Victim Describes Terrifying Chase – Efforts to Get Children and Grandmother Released
The Washington State woman, whose family was carjacked last Friday in Missoula and lived through a terrifying high speed chase, kissed her children goodbye not knowing if she would ever see them again. She spoke to KGVO news about her ordeal from her home.
The family from Washington was just getting gas at Deano's when the ordeal that would change their lives began. The mother, identified only as "Becky" described what happened.
"I got out to fill up and my son woke up and asked to go inside to use the facilities," she said. "I said, 'Your dad is inside, so go ahead.' He came back moments later and said 'Mom, there are two guys with guns robbing the store.' I looked up and saw my husband's hands in the air and that's when I first called 911, but the call was dropped. My husband got in the car and said 'We've gotta go..right now!' As we're driving out of the gas station, 911 called back and said since we witnessed a crime, we had to pull over and wait for the officers to arrive, so we were getting back onto I-90 and we pulled off onto the shoulder of the on-ramp. As we're sitting there talking with 911, I see them leave in a dark car, and it looked like they were going in the opposite direction. As we were giving the description of our car, the doors opened to the robbers who were armed. They said 'We're getting in, and you're going to drive.'"
Becky said her husband, her mother and two children were in the car.
"We got off the freeway and came to a red light," she continued. "They told me not to stop, and I saw about a dozen police cars behind us with all their light bars on. We drove around for a while with my husband on the phone with 911 negotiating with the robbers. We were telling them over and over again, 'The kids don't need to be in this situation, please just let them out.' We ended just stopping and letting my daughter out, but since there were dozens of police behind us, I know she would be alright. So, now we're negotiating to get my son and mother out. They were going to grab him by his hair and put a gun to his head to show they were serious about the police backing off, and my mom said, 'Oh, no you're not' and she opened the other door and pulled him out. He came back around the car to give us hugs. And the one guy said 'Kiss your parents goodbye.' And it was really hard on my husband and me to hear those words, and so we hugged and kissed him. We left him and my mom on the corner."
Becky said not long after that, one of the suspects took over driving, and that is when the high speed chase began.
"There's talk about a bloodbath and you could hear them loading their guns, and at one point, he pulls a 180 in the middle of the street, they rolled down the windows and the driver started shooting at the cops," she said. "At that point, we were doing over a 100 miles an hour. All this time, my husband is on the phone negotiating with the police and we're saying, 'Please,. take the car, but let us out'. We were pleading with them, 'Look, I'm a mom, I want to go home to my kids.' He told me he was also a father, so I said, 'All the more reason to let us out and not kill us.'"
The suspects then drove at a high rate of speed onto Highway 93 North toward Evaro Hill, where they pulled off the road.
"They were talking on their phones, trying to get someone to come pick them up, and they were asking themselves, what do we do with them? We said, 'Please don't harm us. We'll wait as long as you want, five minutes, 10 minutes, 20 minutes, half an hour, whatever you need just to go away'. So they said they would give us a half an hour, put the keys on the hood and walked behind the car towards the road. They eventually walked away, and those were the longest 20 minutes of our lives. We got the keys and drove down the hill to where the police were waiting. It was almost a two-hour ordeal."
Becky described their reunion with the children and her mother.
"They took us back to the sheriff's station, and at about 6:30 we got to see our kids again," she said. "There wasn't a lot of crying. I think we were all in complete shock. We thought, 'Oh my gosh, we just went through this and we're all OK.' And that's where it all ended."
Becky said she and her family would be forever grateful to all the law enforcement personnel who put their lives at risk to help them survive their carjacking ordeal.
"I don't think people who know how strong they are until they've done something that they thought would never happen to them, honestly."
The two suspects, Thomas Dempsey and Nicholas West are in federal custody and are being held without bond.