NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - “I’m still terrified. I’m shaking. I’m, I’m just not right,” said a New Orleans Mom.
She says Sunday was the worst night of her life as she watched a stranger drive away with her young daughter.
“I just wanted her back. I didn’t know what to do. I felt hopeless. I felt like I didn’t want to breathe anymore,” she said.
The woman had just been to visit her mother. She stopped on the 3300 block of Saint Anthony to drop off her grandmother. As she walked her inside, the mom’s eldest daughter stood on the sidewalk while her 11-year old lie in the back seat of her rental car.
“That’s when this devastating thing happened. That’s when the car was taken,” she said.
Her oldest reports seeing a black sedan roll up with three boys inside, seemingly out of nowhere. The next thing they knew, someone was behind the wheel of their car.
“She’s screaming, ‘somebody’s in the car taking it.’ As I come out, he finally started it and went off with it. Took off with it and we went running up the street behind him. We don’t know we were doing but we were running. I just knew I had to run."
The mother and her oldest soon turned back and loaded into her grandmother’s car.
“Started following them. I know it wasn’t a good thing to do, the best thing to do but we did and I’m chasing them trying to look for my daughter as they’re driving off,” she said.
The woman couldn’t keep up as the car sped through stop signs and up one ways.
“She says I was doing 100 up the street. I don’t know what I was doing, I don’t know what I wasn’t doing,” she exclaimed.
“I never expected to be in a car with someone that I never met. I never knew who just stole the car and I was just nervous. I was scared,” recalled the 11-year-old.
The little girl stayed quiet in the back seat.
“I was just thinking like I was just ready to go back home,” she said.
The child says the suspect ditched the car around Law and Franklin. She didn’t move until she was certain they were gone. Then, the girl called 9-1-1, walked to Eads and found a well-lit house to ask for help.
“I didn’t know what to do and I felt safer to go knock on someone’s house than to just sit in the car and wait for them to come back and try to hurt me,” the girl explained.
Her mom says police were able to track the girl’s location even before she called emergency services, thanks to the cell phones she and her other daughter left behind.
Less than 30 minutes after they were separated, mother and daughter were reunited.
“I just got happy and I got out of the car and I hugged her,” said the girl.
“When I saw her, I couldn’t stop holding her,” remembered the mother. “She’s very brave and I’m proud of her. She did the best thing she could have done.”